A foot has no nose
Of the many interactions I had with my mother those many years ago, one stands out with clarity. I remember the occasion when mother sent me to the main road, about twenty yards away from the homestead, to invite a passing group of seasonal work-seekers home for a meal. She instructed me to take a container along and collect dry cow dung for making a fire. I was then to prepare the meal for the group of work-seekers.
The thought of making an open fire outside at midday, cooking in a large three-legged pot in that intense heat, was sufficient to upset even an angel. I did not manage to conceal my feelings from my mother and, after serving the group, she called me to the veranda where she usually sat to attend to her sewing and knitting.
Looking straight into my eyes, she daid “Tsholofelo, why did you sulk when I requested you to prepare a meal for those poor destitute people?” Despite my attempt to deny her allegation, and using the heat of the fire and the sun as an excuse for my alleged behaviour, mother, giving me a firm look, said “”Lonao ga lo na nko” – “A foot has no nose”. It means: you cannot detect what trouble may lie ahead of you.
Had I denied this group of people a meal, it may have happened that, in my travels some time in the future, I found myself at the mercy of those very individuals. As if that was not enough to shame me, mother continued: “Motho ke motho ka motho yo mongwe”. The literal meaning: “A person is a person because of another person”.
Source: “African Wisdom” by Ellen K. Kuzwayo
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the communications trade union for which I then worked received several delegations from the emergent nations and we ran courses for them on how market economies operated and how free collective bargaining was conducted. As is my practice when lecturing to foreign audiences, I had my visual aids translated into the vernacular, so I used overhead slides in Russian, although of course I spoke in English and had an interpreter.
I cannot read the cyrillic alphabet and know very little Russian, so I just worked through my slides in order. However, there came a point when I could tell from the statistical data on the latest slide that, for the previous ten minutes, I had been speaking to the wrong slide. British students would have pointed this out in seconds, but none of the Russians had said a word.
I was perplexed and asked why nobody had told me that I had been speaking to the wrong slide. Eventually one brave soul volunteered an answer and the interpreter translated: “In our country, no one challenges the teacher”.
Author: Roger Darlington: Source: www.Rogerdarlington.me.uk