Monday, September 14, 2009

Proverbs for the modern Ghanaian. It's new, fresh, and possibly hilarious.

I'm working on a blog post on the most memorable Ghanaian adverts of all time. That should be a fun one. But it's taking a while to write so be patient.

Whilst we wait for that one, I had a silly thought. And I thought, why the hell not? Sometimes Ghanaians are too serious for our own good. So i decided to go crazy with my thought and see what comes out of it. Here goes.

So there is a Ghanaian proverb that goes...Anoma entu a, obua da. Which can be translated to mean, if a bird does not fly, it goes to sleep hungry. The proverb cautions against laziness. In the first part, the flying represents the busyness that comes with enterprise and the second part, assures the hardworking of food. Wish I'd thought of that :)

Now our ex-prez Rawlings is quoted to have said that Anoma entu a, ogyina hɔ. Which means if a bird does not fly, it remains standing. haha.

I remember this caused him much public ridicule. People even went as far as to suggest that this is what happens when we make a scottish man president, referring to the fact that our ex presido is half-caste.

I agree that a president should intimately know the culture of the people he's leading. And on that front, Rawlings may have scored low points. But his gaffe inspired this blog post.

How, you ask?

Well, I think our quotes, proverbs, stories and culture lack freshness. And that they're too serious. They may have been right for the time that our ancestors created them. But as we the people have evolved, we have not added to them.

We complain about antiquated customs and cultures yet do nothing to create new ways of being, new cultures, new spirits that suit these times. In that sense, I think our parents generation failed us, and my generation may do the same if we do not add to the cooking pot.

So I was thinking...what if we all did something a little nuts? What if we turned the proverb on its head? What if we dissected it, and played with it, and did some thinking? What if we created a whole new set of proverbs related to this one proverb....anoma entu a, obua da? So basically taking the first part "Anoma entu a" and finding a fitting ending for it.

Almost like a little Challenge. The wo se ekyir challenge to find a new revamped ending for "anoma entu a"...

I start...okay, this is just silly but how about anoma entu a, osa mesop! Mesop being that old school dance that was so popular back in the day.

Of course you should try to be more creative, smarter, more relevant. Something along the lines of...anoma entu a, ɔbaa bi a ne ti nni hɔ behwie nsuo hyeɛ egu ne so. (tr: if a bird does not fly, some crazy woman will pour hot water on it) hehe.

Enjoy! Add a little fun and freshness to old school Ghanaian sayings. Did you ever think you'd see the day when fresh, fun, and hilarious are used in the same sentence as Ghanaian sayings? Well, that day is here.

It's up to us. Can't wait to see what we collectively come up with.


  1. anoma entu a, yesu nho no wo nipa mu(God doesnt see it among the crowd).

    On the memorable advert part, Quench walai and chocolate spread are what came in mind.....

  2. @Nana, you just can't wait for the advert post huh? Coming up soon...

    So God doesn't see it among the crowd made me laugh out loud.

    And here are 2 suggestions from Pamela Duodu.

    1. anomaa entua... y3de ne ntakra y3 3ky3 (if a bird does not fly, its feathers are used for hats)
    2.or better still...anomaa entua...obomofour yi nam. haha (if a bird does not fly, the hunter gets its meat) lol.

    I'm loving this!

  3. I just wanted to tell you that I love reading your blog. I spent some time in Ghana last year and your blog helps to keep me in the loop with Ghana. Thanks for your opinions.

  4. I don't even know if this counts- how about this saying- every mistake is a new style? lolol.

    Ok, lets see, anomaa entua- eebia ekom di no. (If a bird doesn't fly- maybe its hungry)

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  6. Anoma entu a, odi bay3r3 ko Airport...(if a bird doesn't fly, it takes yam to the airport...)

  7. Hahahahahahahhaha @ Kajsa

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  9. Anoma entua, otwe break!

  10. Oh my goodness! You guys are hilarious! I think a lot of people got Kajsa's joke but missed just how funny anonymous' comment was...

    anomaa entua- eebia ekom di no - think ecomini...ekom di no...Prez Mills. haha.

    @Miss Kesewa, ebi a, ⊃t⊃ nko nanso ⊃nda yE.

    @anoma paa otwe break...modern day Ghanaian birds get Oh lord. gymie yE dE!

  11. 1)how about anomma entua- ebia na oye akomfem (if a bird doesnt fly, perhaps its a guinea fowl)

    look deeper into matters, dont just glance....

    2) anoma entua ebia na ope se onante (...Perhaps he wants to walk)
    'just cant be bothered'

    3) aboa beka woa na kyere se wanpro pro wuntoma mo yie..(if an animal will bite u, perhaps u didnt shake your cloth well)
    this one is a remix of aboa bek woa na ofri wontomaa mu (if someone will harm u, its one of your own)

  12. Esi - you are inspirational - you get everyone into the game!!!
    I'm going to have to cheat a bit and work with some of my Ghanaian colleagues - I have one who is infamous for coming up with a proverb for everything!!! Stay tuned... :)

  13. anoma entu a credit crunch b3kye no anadwo (if a bird does not fly it will be attacked by credit crunch)

    Thumbs up to Kajsa never knew you were that good in Twi!!!!!

  14. anoma antu a, ebia na ne ntakra atutu (If a bird does not fly, then perhaps its feathers have been removed).

  15. anoma entu aa ebia onni papers (If a bird does not fly, maybe it does not have legalized documents of stay, which restricts travel).

    anoma entua aa onya units n'o ode aflashi (if a bird does not fly, it does not get phone units to make calls)

  16. Anoma entu a, a stone will hit him (can't write that in Twi, Sorry!)

  17. Anoma entu a ebia na )y3 apakye.(if a bird doesnt fly, perhaps it's because it is a cripple)

  18. ehem my own which i blatantly monopolized..
    If e no on no entry, if no entry dey abeg baby no go come!!!

  19. Anuma ento a fa bentua tua ni meko shishiishi.

  20. Anoma entu a ebia oni bebia k)!(if a bird doesn't fly,perhaps it has nowhere to go)

  21. anoma entua, efa wo ho ben? if a bird does not fly, what is it to you? ( could mean mind your own business) LOL. this is fun Esi.
    i think Jerry wwasn't so far off the mark with his blunder. i mean if a bird is stationary it will eventually die of hunger won't it?