UN International Day Of Families: 10 African Proverbs On Children And Family


Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them” and we think it is a very helpful reminder as we celebrate this year’s International Day of Families.

The thing to be reminded of is not necessarily that we do not get to choose our families but rather that they are a gift, one that should be cherished and taken care of as much as we can.

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On the 15th of May every year, the International Day of Families is observed. It was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 with resolution A/RES/47/237. The day provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.

For the 2017 International Day of Families, UN puts the focus on the role of families and family-oriented policies in promoting education and overall well-being of their members.

International Day Of Families

In essence, the international body is seeking to raise awareness today on the role of families in promoting early childhood education and lifelong learning opportunities for children and youth.

As the UN website puts it;

“The Day will highlight the importance of all caregivers in families, be it parents, grandparents or siblings and the importance of parental education for the welfare of children. It will focus on good practices for work-family balance to assist parents in their educational and caregiving roles. Good practices from the private sector in support of working parents, as well as youth and older persons in the workplace, will also be highlighted.

The Day also aims to discuss the importance of ‘knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development”

While the UN does all that great work, we would like to give you some extra reasons to love whatever family you have. We have compiled below our 10 favorite African proverbs about family which should do just that;

  • When brothers fight to the death, a stranger inherits their father’s estate – Ibo proverb
  • A family is like a forest when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its place
  • It takes a village to raise a child
  • Cross the river in a crowd and the crocodile won’t eat you

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  • If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together
  • The old woman looks after the child to grow its teeth and the young one, in turn, looks after the old woman when she loses her teeth – Akan (Ghana, Ivory Coast) proverb
  • If I am in harmony with my family, that’s success – Ute proverb
  • Home affairs are not talked about on the public square
  • A family tie is like a tree, it can bend but it cannot break
  • He who earns calamity eats it with his family
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