African proverbs and conflict management: A study of selected Shona, Oshiwambo, Yoruba and Swahili proverbial expressions.

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This study employs a Dialectical – Relational Approach to analyse selected Shona, Oshivambo, Yoruba and Swahili proverbs in a bid to show that African proverbs have vast potential in mitigating and possibly preventing conflict that has ravaged the continent thus almost threatening to reverse gains made in economic, political, educational and social spheres in recent years on the continent. Informed by Ubutuism, the study argues that African proverbs have a role to play not only in the economic development of the continent, but also in maintaining positive social relations with the rest of the world as is demanded by modern diplomacy and the quest for dignified social existence. In the study, I reveal that the Aristotelian three proofs of ethos, pathos and logos are inherent in African proverbs and can be used in all spheres of life in modern Africa to add value in education, commerce, politics and socialization systems both for the youth and adults. The study makes a critical analysis of proverbial expressions that deal with love, respect, endurance, care, goodwill and humility to reveal not only how proverbs should inform African education systems, but that their incorporation in many spheres of life would provide answers to vices such as greed, brutality (e.g. killing of people for various reasons), lack of ethical conduct, lack of respect for adults, sexual promiscuity and corruption. A purposive sampling of proverbs has been employed in this study.


Preprint. Published item: African Journal of Rhetoric, 4, 122-149. ISSN 1998-2054.