Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lucy (Dinkenesh) of Ethiopia – our common ancestor

Creation: Spring and Easter
Anywhere you find a road, people have passed there before. (Africa)

Lucy, whose Amharic name is Dinkenesh (“You are beautiful”) is a skeleton of a woman found at Hadar, Ethiopia. Anthropologists say all humanity originated from Lucy’s genes, and that she is about 3.2 million years old.

American anthropologist Donald Johanson was re-checking a gully, already visited twice by other workers, when he found fragments of Lucy’s body. The bones showed she was less than four feet tall, and the pelvic remains indicated that she was female. She had a pubic arch similar to modern woman. Among Lucy’s most striking features were her knee and her spine, signifying that she was accustomed to walking upright.

Today, you can find Lucy at the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa. Some of her fossils are currently on tour of the USA.

Lucy pre-dates the Adam and Eve story by at least a couple of million years. As the common ancestor of all human beings, she also challenges concepts of racial superiority. If we accept this archeological finding, we are all either Africans or descendants of Africans. What do you think?

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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