Behind Every Proverb, There’s a Story

Proverbs have origins, too. Behind every wise Chinua Achebe quote, every witty Wole Soyinka
verse and head-scratching Peter Edochie quip is a story that reflects a universe of thought, a
worldview that may not be completely captured in the proverb, but is clearly reflected. “Se boo ti
mo, elewa sapon,” is an example of such proverb. This Yoruba saying that ties cutting your cloth
according to your size to a woman who makes beans like a non-sequitur have a simple story
behind it. And this story is highlighted in this short video.

                                                                     Ayooluwa Nihinlola

Young people who schooled in South-West Nigeria will be familiar with “Alawiye”, a series of
educational texts for school students by JF Odunjo. The narrator of this video series Baba
Alawiye shares a name with those Odunjo’s books and has a mission similar to those
foundational texts. The video is educational in the way it shows the worldview behind this
Yoruba saying, providing context and insight into the culture.
The artists who have worked on this video have paid attention to the visuals and aesthetics. It is
exciting to look at in a way that gives the story the visual gloss it deserves. This is just a drop in
an ocean of efforts by many social activists around the world to keep our cultures alive. It is
however one that is made with hopes that it inspires someone to watch and become interested
in learning these proverbs that make lubricate language, spice speech and codify our cultures in
ways that preserve them for future generations.
Link to the first episode

Personal social media handles
Instagram – @ayooluwaelisha
Twitter – @elishaayooluwa
Facebook – AyoOluwa Nihinlola
Project social media handles
Instagram – @babaalawiye
Twitter – @Babaalawiye
Facebook – E5Studioz
Website URL –

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