African Proverbs with Simon Okelo

“Although the snake does not fly, it has caught the bird whose home is in the sky.” ~ Ghanaian Proverb

It is not often that we think about a snake catching a bird. Most times it is the other way around with a bird grabbing a snake for it’s meal. That made me pay even closer attention to this proverb.

It was a reminder to not get comfortable in believing that a you are untouchable. In life, in business, and in relationships we must not get comfortable. There should always be something that wed are learning about someone or something so that we are able to better protect what it is that we care about. That takes a lot more work than many are willing to do but the return on that work is peace, joy, and happiness.

We must be alert to our surroundings. Something that I would always tell my children is that they needed to always pay attention to the landmarks around them. Those landmarks can prove to not only where you are but are a key indicator when you are going in the wrong direction.

No one likes going into the wrong direction!

What’s your interpretation of this #Ghanaian proverb?

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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