Proverb – Central Uganda

Luganda Proverb – Entebbe, Central Uganda.

Nagazzina                  Edda   Agaabana        SSanja

I’ll dance                     Later    Earns               Banana leaves

He/she who dances     Later    Earns               Banana leaves

Hamis told me that he learned this proverb when he visited his untie around age 8. He said his auntie lived in Entebbe. However, he believed that she had learned the proverb while she was living with his grandmother in Masaka district, which is 100 miles away from Entebbe. Hamis said that the proverb is used when someone’s failure to keep time would cause him/her to miss out on something. A good example, Brian said, would be if someone supposed to catch a bus to at interview at 2pm went in the shower at 1:45pm. There inability to keep time would cost them being employed. When I asked him where the proverb came from, Hamis said this to me: “long time ago, the Baganda (luganda speaking people) had traditional festival dances. Dancers would – and still do – normally rap banana leaves around their waists as their costumes. One by one, they could take on the dance arena, which was and still is always surrounded by cheering fans. The fans would and still do toss money to the arena as an appreciation for the dancer’s skills. Dancers would and still pick up the money as they left the arena. However, because it was always so many dancers coming to the arena, by the time the last dancers hit the stage, people would have run out of money and those dancers only had banana leaves (those that broke off the branches while dancers did their thing) to pickup. Hence the proverb, he who dances later earns banana leaves.”


I like the way Hamis breaks down this proverb. He actually makes it easy to relate to. I think this proverb is meant to discourage laziness and encourage time keeping. Like how any other proverb, this proverb tells us some aspects of the Baganda culture. It tells us that the Baganda have value time.  I would also say that the Baganda are a dancing culture. I say so because of the fact that they have a proverb derived from a traditional dance. That connection might sound illogical to some. However, I believe that if one were living in a war zone, then he or she would most likely tell war related proverbs. By that I mean that the environment one lives in shapes up his perception.

I think this proverb can be used on my roommate who came to the concert late. Recently, Lupe Fiasco had a concert on the USC campus. I told my roommate the time Lupe had to perform. Instead of coming to the show, he went to Hollywood and got caught up in traffic on his way back. He consequently missed Lupe and only came to stare at the stage. In this scenario, I would tell him that; “he who dances later earns banana leaves.” In this example, his coming late would represent the dancing and missing Lupe would represent earning the banana leaves.