Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Swahili Proverbs/Kanga Sayings in East Africa -- Columbus Students Write Their Own Sayings!

In East Africa, the kanga cloth dominates the fashion landscape. These brightly pattenered textiles all feature a poetic phrase/proverb printed at the bottom of the cloth, and often use metaphor and colorful language to express abstract meanings and interpretations of social reality. Kanga cloths are often traded or purchased for friends and family both for the sheer beauty of the cloth, but also to communicate messages embedded or implied by the poetic phrase on the cloth. In this way, the kanga is used as a poetic note silently passed between two people, a form of potent, indirect communication between two people having an on-going conversation. In this way, poetry and poetics plays a major role in the daily conversation of East Africa. Columbus students studied Swahili proverbs found on Kanga cloths, and then we took a turn at creating our own phrases.

Here are a few by 3rd graders:

If money falls from the sky, then help the homeless.

If you see a robber, use god's power to stop him.

If you had no mother, you would not be alive.

If your blood is hot, then you will fade.

If you play the piano, then angels will sing.

If you got hit by a car, you will turn to metal.

If you touch a thorn, you will run out of blood.

If you had no heart, then you have nothing but hatred.

When you are injured, you will heal.

When an elephant is running toward you, you will die.

If you ever find your dog, then you should live with him.

If all the clouds fall down, we will all blow up.

A small fear turns into a nightmare.

A small world can be bigger than you think.

If you don't listen, your ears will turn very big.

If people had magic, noone would have to work.

If you ran really fast, you'd travel all around.

If my mother was down, then I would have to be up.

If thunder is following you, grab the thunder and throw it back to the sky.

When you stomp your feet, you'll find a dollar.

If my brain was red, then my world would be red.

Without bones, you are made of jello.

Without your brain, you would just be dead.

If the earth was just water, we would all drown.

If you read "yam" backwards, you would know it was made in May.

With no mother, I would not live at all.

If friendship does not work, I will find a new friend.

When our teachers leave us, we will cry a pool of water.

Without the sun, there is not life.

Without gravity, we go to the moon.

A little is enough to be whatever you want.

If I see god, then I would die to live with him.

Singing too loud breaks glass.

If our grandfathers lived again, we would protect them so they wouldn't die.

If I look long enough at the star, I would become the star.

If we change the date, we get to eat the cake.

If you don't have a plan, you don't have a train.

If our grannies come back to life, let's take care of them.

If you really love your favorite color, then be your favorite color.

If you run really fast, you will turn very old.

If I die, then I will continue in my dead mansion.

If I have love, I will keep it a secret.

If the Sears Tower tilts, I will leave Chicago.

Even if we get into a scramble here, you will still be my sweet love.

If you wonder too hard, you won't find your way.

If you fly, you can touch the sky.

Clever people have brains.

Being lucky is like singing the song of your life.

Don't set sail when I say to set sail.

You build someone else's place, you feel greatness in your heart.

Me and you find great happiness.

If someone shouts, then noone dies.

If life dies, then god will die.

If there was no moon, there would be no beauty.

Earth will die when time stops.

If fire hits you, you will become it.

If you get born the love will stay.

If you point at the rainbow, the love will come true.

If you make a bird, you will never forget.

You should pick life over death.

If I had a sword, I'd use it for justice.

When you read, spells will come out of the book.

If you stare at a bee, you might get eye contact.

If you have the might, you might get the fight.

If you are a nice person, I will love you.

If your dad is sick, what will you do?And a few by 2nd graders:

If you see a bug, you should be brave.

If you love someone, keep it to yourself.

If you stop talking, you will become a king or queen.

If you dream of a spider, you should make it real.

Even if you fly away, you will come back.

If you really learn something, you will never forget it.

If you can love, then you can help.

If you see a bird, you should sing to it.

If I count to ten, I will get sophistication.

If you disobey the law, admit it to make justice.

If I get wasted in the USA, I would be reborn in Canada.

If you claim a rainbow, you'll find gold.

If you buy a present for your mom, she will never forget that.

If your parents point at the rainbow, you will see the future.

If my mom and dad grow, I will grow.

If I swim with the shark, I will turn into a shark.

I if I love, then I will get love back.

If I die, then I would come back to earth so I can relive my life again.

If I kill a bear, then I will turn into it.

People push people – all people – every day – until they push.


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