The world view through english and bemba proverbs: a literary perspective

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Sikanyika, Sapwe Chabushiku Joseph
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The University of Zambia
The purpose of this paper, The World View Through English and Bemba proverbs: A Literary Perspective was to find out if the same kernel of poetics and world view could be found under the two conditions and languages. In order to reach this investigation, the data on proverbs were required for Bemba and English. Bemba proverbs data were drawn from books: “Amapinda Yesu” (Our Proverbs), assembled in the Democratic Republic of Congo, from the proverbs by Stephen A Mpashi Icibemba na Mano Ya Ciko (Bemba with its wisdom) works done in Zambia, from Larry’s dissertation of Master of Arts in Anthropology entitled:, “Tools for World view Studies: An exploratory Comparison of the Bemba of Zambia and Shona of Zimbabwe”, Amapinda Mulyashi by Paul B. Mushindo, and lastly, two recent publications: Proverbs of the Bemba Bantu of Southern Africa by Obine K Bwalya and Insoselo Na Mapinda: Ancient Bemba Wisdom for Modern Living by Sampa Kangwa Wilkie and Mulenga Mpundu Kapwepwe. Data of English proverbs were taken from The Best Proverbs and Quotes compiled by Jubel D’Cruz, English Proverbs (alphabeticallyproverbs) from proverbs (alphabetically by proverb) and the Wordsworth Dictionary. The methodology of the work consisted of translating Bemba into English and vice-versa, and giving two ways of the meaning: the literal meaning and the literary (the metaphoric one). As other literary genres in literature, proverbs were analysed by looking at their poetics; that is, analyzing the structures; the rhetoric: the figures of speech, the symbols and the archetypes. Four important themes were the focus of this study: God, Time, Child and Woman. The study consisted of basic assumption and images which provide a more or less coherent way of thinking of the world.The selected proverbs were analysed according to some critical approaches to literature. Each theme raised a specific approach to literature. For instance, the woman raises the feminism and gender issue. After a cross-cultural study of the proverbs of the two languages: English and Bemba proverbs, similarities in the poetics and the aesthetics have been found. This was on the level of thematic, structure, rhetoric and the world view. God in many Bemba proverbs has many viii symbols whereas, less symbols are registered in English proverbs in the attribution of God. However, the world view on God remains the same. Time presents the same world view, it is considered as an acting force on man. He must use it as an important resource of his life. However, time cannot be viewed independently from the space; it acts on all its occupants. The world philosophy of the child is quite similar, children are considered as world of tomorrow. Therefore, their education is quite important. The woman diverges a bit; most of Bemba proverbs marginalize the woman while the English proverbs qualify the woman. She is minimized on one side and found important on the other.
Proverbs--English and Bemba--Zambia