Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Black History Month - Gambia independent

The wasp says that several regular trips to a mud pit enables it to build a house. (Benin, Togo, Ghana)

1965 - Gambia proclaimed independence.


Kunta Kinte, one of the leading characters in Alex Haley's "Roots", came from The Gambia. "Roots" dramatized many events in Gambia's history.

The River Gambia remains an important transport route from the interior to the coast. It is navigable and flows 600 miles from Guinea to the Atlantic. First the Portuguese and then the British therefore set up slave trading ports in The Gambia, the River of No Return for many Africans. During the transatlantic slave trade, an estimated three million slaves may have passed through these slave trading ports.

The Gambia, the smallest country in Africa, is found along a narrow strip (never more than 30 miles wide) on either side of River Gambia. It shares all land borders with Senegal. The Gambia’s population,mainly Muslim, speak a number of African languages, and the official language is English. Gambians are known for excellence in music and dancing. Peanuts are the country’s main cash crop, and tourism is a major source of revenue.

The Gambia was Britain's first and last colony in Africa.

1688 - First formal protest against slavery in US: Quakers.

1922 - Eric Gairy, former Prime Minister of Grenada, was born.

1931 - Toni Morrison, winner of 1988 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, was born.

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When the occasion arises, there is a proverb to suit it. (Proverb from Rwanda and Burundi)

Welcome to this space where we can talk about proverbs that we can relate to (or not), and proverbs that make sense to us (or not). Most of all we can discuss how proverbs make us think about life and living. We can also share experiences of proverbs that have provided us with lifelines or just the chance to reflect.

Some of the proverbs here may also be found in "Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs", published by Random House and authored by Askhari Johnson Hodari and me. The foreword is written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

One of the unique features of our book is that we arranged the proverbs according to life cycle, in sections including, Birth, Childhood, Love, Marriage, and Intimacy, Challenge, and Death.

For more proverbs and for information on Lifelines: the Black Book of Proverbs, please visit us at