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Joy has a slender and fragile body.

It snaps and breaks too readily.

The yam on your plate is white and succulent?

Be careful not to eat in public.

Secure your door firm, conceal the dish with your hands, and consume your yam privately and inaudibly.

Nobody will lick your fingers if they drip blood.

Only if your fingers were dripping delicious oil and nectars would people lick them.

Folks do not want you to prosper.

Only your ori will see you through to the table of fortune.

Speak only with yourself.

Refrain from divulging your secrets to others.

Do you see folks standing in cliques of two and three?

They are friends only facially and on the surface.

Their camaraderie is not belly-deep.

The body of joy is slender and fragile.

It snaps and breaks too readily.

Focus on your trade, friend.

That’s your only visa from the snare of poverty.


All the above are Yoruba proverbs.

Why does the Yoruba culture conceptualize and characterize people in this manner?

Prof. Moyo Okediji

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