“So Said Grandma”: Timeless Wisdom from African Sayings


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I spent the first eight years of my life with Kaaka, my grandmother, in a small village called Kati in the southwestern part of Uganda. Having travelled both within and outside Uganda, the memories of growing up in the hills and valleys of Kati are still fresh. The experiences and lessons I learned from her have immensely shaped my identity. She taught and guided me with love, patience, and understanding. Most of all, I remember that she wasn’t one for many words. She always spoke in short, crisp, and wise sayings. These sayings were not exclusive to her but were generally well-known and were used and understood by everyone. However, it formed her unique way of communicating. In one saying, she could share deep lessons that no amount of words could make any clearer. These sayings were a way to impart wisdom-wisdom that is passed on orally from generation to generation. Now after so many years, I have felt the urge to share some of my favorite and most memorable sayings with my children. The legacy of language and culture is the best gift I can share with them, and with the many others growing up around the world who may not have the privilege of hearing it in their grandmother’s own words. In this book, I will share some of my favorite sayings. Each chapter contains a category of sayings with a common moral theme, and each theme is meant to teach certain lessons, which include love, patience, unity, discipline, courage, kindness, responsibility, focus, and expected social behaviour or norms. I share a mix of scenarios from the past and present to make the content relevant for today’s child. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.


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