Proverb – Mubende, District Uganda

Luganda Proverb, Mubende district, Uganda

“Okuyiita        No’     Omulangila                        Tekikufuula                       Mulangila”

“To Walk         With    A royal                          Does not make you                Royal”

Gilbert told me that he grew up in a village located in central Uganda. He said that this proverb was one of the most frequently used ones among the Luganda speakers or Baganda ethnic group. “It is fairly a common proverb and is used by all ages.” Gilbert told me that the proverb is most often used when someone of a lower class tries to copy and behave in a way that is considered high class by the society. Gilbert said that he frequently heard his family members and close neighbors use this proverb while gossiping about their family members who they thought were forgetting about them simply because they had wealthier or high-status friends. A good situation to use it, Gilbert said, would be when some random poor kid befriends a celebrity and forgets about all his old homeboys. In such a scenario, Gilbert said, if that poor kid tries to change his behavior to behave like his celebrity friend, then his old friends might use the proverb to remind him that he is still his old self. In short, befriending a celebrity does not make him a celebrity.

Gilbert said that this proverb is trying meant to ensure close ties between people in a given society. He also said it promotes uniqueness and dishonors fakeness. Like the proverb says, to walk with a loyal does not make someone royal, which is true. Royals are born in royal families if one is not from that family, they never can be considered royal. Therefore, Gilbert concluded, no matter how much effort one puts in, they can never change their identity.


However much I respect Gilbert’s explanation of this proverb, I think that sometimes people have to change their character and personality in order to fit in certain societies. I think this proverb, more than anything else, is against assimilation. However, sometimes one has to assimilate for his benefit. The biggest problem is the difference in class.  It is as if people in Gilbert’s culture want people to live and die in the same class they were born in. That, to me, is unrealistic. I like it when people take on assimilate only if it makes them comfortable.

On the other hand, I like it when people fake their identity just for the sake of fitting in the group. I will use rapper Clifford Harris (also known as T.I). He brags about dealing drugs, growing up homeless, and gangbanging even though those close to him claim he has never been in any of the situations. In this case, I say T.I is doing that because it is what most rappers do. He is trying to fake an identity just for the sake of it. In such a situation, I think someone should remind Harris that; “walking with the royal does not make you a royal.” In this case, other rappers represent the royals and Harris is one walking with and trying to be them.