Yoruba proverbs as a tool for fostering social balance and equilibrium

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Dept of African Languages and cultures, ABU, Zaria


Proverbs are wise sayings which, in a short, witty and loaded manner, instruct, guide, praise or condemn human activities. It is interesting to note that proverbs are somewhat poetic; hence, they are laced with messages whose intended meaning rises beyond the ordinary surface perception of what is uttered. So, it becomes a formidable medium of engendering a lasting impression on the psyche of the intended addressee with a tendency of putting him under a ‘spell’ to embark on a certain course of action which ordinarily would not have been achieved. In other words, these proverbial expressions are usually invested with compelling force which eventually generates the envisaged perlocution on the part of the addressee.Proverbs are used as a customary means of evolving the constituents of the societal norms with a view to preserving and transmitting the cultural values and the belief system of a given people. Yoruba as a people uphold communalism. This principle is a confirmation of the philosophical stance of being one’s brother’s keeper. It is in the light of the foregoing that this paper intends to conduct an investigation to see how well proverbs function as a vehicle of foregrounding the Marxist belief system of the Yoruba people.




proverbs, social balance, Karl Marx theory