African Proverbs with Simon Okelo

“Parents give birth to the body of their children, but not always to their characters” ~ African Proverb

As a parent, there were a few things that came to the surface when I read this proverb.

When birthing something new we do not know how it will react to the world or how the world will react to it. Trying to control that interaction displays a large amount of fear as the parent. (By parent, I am referring to business parents too) That fear can put us in a position where we do not allow the child, or what we have birthed, to full mature to it’s highest point.

That can be dangerous for you and for what you have birthed. Although it is not the easiest thing to do, we must be willing to allow our children to develop their own character. Trust me, we still have a pretty big influence on them but we don’t want them to be a replica of us. We want them to be individuals and this proverb definitely speaks to that.

What does this #African proverb mean to you?

~ Altovise

My name is Simon Javan Okelo. I grew up in the slums of Manyatta in Kisumu, Kenya, serving as the Field Director of Solace International and Co-Director of the Young Generation Centre from 2002-2010 where I directed humanitarian projects in Malawi, Kenya, Ghana, Liberia, and South Sudan. I also worked as a DJ and producer, organizing Unite The People concerts in 2008 in the wake of post-election violence and founding One Vibe Africa.

I came to the US in 2010, and I have since organized events and digital campaigns celebrating the African diaspora locally and globally. For example, since 2014 I have organized Madaraka Festival at The Museum of POP Culture headlined by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Sauti Sol, Blitz The Ambassador, Rocky Dawuni, Meklit Hadero, Nik West, Naomi Wachira, Karun, and other renowned grammy award winning artists.


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