"One senses centuries of history behind each kernel of wisdom."

Author Morehouse offers the wisdom of Africa’s ancient peoples, encased in adages and images passed down through countless generations. To give each saying the ring of familiarity for readers, Morehouse references Christian writings, arraying African wisdom in forty-six categories and citing the language and country of origin for each proverb, followed by a “Commentary and Study Guide” for further study and deeper understanding.

Morehouse initiates his exploration of African traditional wisdom by focusing on the “Golden Rule.” As an apt example, he found this ingenuous statement from Nigeria, translated from the Yoruba language as, “What you can’t take, do not do to others.” On the topic of “The Nature of God,” readers will find this offering from Kenya/Tanzania both surprising and satisfying: “With God, no person is abject.” This closely mirrors the biblical declaration from Lamentations 3:31—”For no one is cast off by the Lord forever.” The author’s analysis of each theme proffers a fresh look at straightforward human-scale wisdom garnered over centuries and is rich in mental and emotional guidance. Other topics presented include mindfulness, confession, patience, gratitude, and community and conclude with “Death,” which notes that for many Africans, “ancestors are a constant presence.”

Morehouse, with a master’s degree in public and international affairs, has made an assiduous, lifelong study of African culture and development. This enlightening compendium, with many resources listed, establishes a knowledge base inviting thoughtful comparison and contemplation, sagely linking African sayings and symbols to pragmatic and philosophical questions and comments. Underlying this unique study is Morehouse’s personal conviction, often expressed in this fascinating collection, that African proverbs should be seen as a significant contribution to world wisdom, comparable to those contained in biblical and other respected sources. Morehouse's work provides a valuable focus for discussion groups and individual absorption.

Return to USR Home