FOR A SUBSTANTIAL BUSINESS, IT TAKES SIGNIFICANT MEANS

Malagasy Proverb

“Kojeja bi-löha tsy lanin’akôho boty.” (Ohabolana malagasy)

“Criquet à grosse tête ne peut être mangé par un poussin chétif.” (Proverbe malgache)

“A weak chick cannot eat a bigheaded grasshopper.”  (Malagasy proverb)

Meaning: For a substantial business, it takes significant means

Proverb source: Fulgence FANONY Öhabölaňa betsimisaraka (2011) p.46

Commentary in light of the Bible

Madagascar is a country that deserves more attention than other African countries. It is an extensive reservoir of under-tapped wisdom. The Malagasy have known not to sacrifice their linguistic values ​​on the altar of modernity. Language is the horse of culture. We then understand the cultural richness of the big island, which is manifested, among other things, by the density of its proverbs.

The one that caught our attention here relates to a fact that, at first glance, may seem trivial. It’s no surprise that a chick has trouble eating a grasshopper. As a keen observer, the Malagasy sage only draws a lesson from it for more complex social situations. When you have an important business, whatever the field, you must use substantial resources. It assumes that one did serious evaluation work beforehand to avoid embarking on a futile adventure. But, when the gain is considerable, we will not skimp on financial, material, or human resources.

This proverb is reminiscent of the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl in Matthew 13:44-46:

« 44 The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field. A man discovers it: he hides it again, goes away, overflowing with joy, sells everything he owns, and buys this field.45 This is what the kingdom of heaven still looks like: a merchant is looking for beautiful pearls. 46 When he has found one of great value, he goes and sells everything he has and buys this precious pearl. »

These two proverbs refer to the same reality. In both cases, a person finds an asset of great value beyond his assets. She decides to sell all her possessions to acquire what is more precious. The phrase « the kingdom of heaven is like… » introduces these parables and clearly outlines their parameters. We are here in a spiritual context. Faced with eternal life with all its values ​​and blessings, the ephemeral goods of this world are no match. Of course, the purpose of this proverb is not to teach that eternal salvation is linked to the dispossession of material wealth but to stick only to that which is spiritual. It is instead a question of priority, of the ability to overcome the pitfalls on the way to the kingdom of God. Other biblical texts, like Matthew 5:29-30 or 6:33, Rom. 8:18, Phil. 3:7-8 can shed some light on this. It is appropriate to sacrifice goods or privileges when they constitute an obstacle to the glorious riches of the kingdom of heaven.

If the context naturally lends itself to a spiritual interpretation, the principle that emerges from this pericope is also valid in other areas of social life. For example, Africa is being shaken badly now by corporate groups, organizations, and movements that make no secret of their purpose to sow terror or destabilize regions, nations, or a large group of countries. Someone who carefully considers the strike forces of the terrorist groups and the means at their disposal is entitled to wonder whether the national and international communities are investing the necessary ressources. In addition, extreme poverty rages on the African continent and fuels insecurity.

No country in the world, however small, is to be neglected; but seeing the more than a hundred billion of euros invested in Ukraine (https://www.statista.com/statistics/1303432/total-bilateral-aid-to-ukraine) compared to what is injected into a country like the Democratic Republic of Congo , or the countries of the Sahel, to name a few, there is reason to be doubtful.

The future of the world will not happen without the African continent. By the year 2100, Africa will be the most populous continent. Its resources are infinitely more significant than what is communicated by geologists or economists. The proof is that no year passes without discovering new deposits of mining, gas, or oil resources on the continent. The Chinese, who have been very active there in recent years, quickly understood this, even if it is not always in the interest of Africa. President Joe Biden’s recent meeting with African Heads of State is a good start. However, a more mature, holistic strategy involving African leaders is needed.

A collegial action will make it possible to realize, for example, that it is vital to carry out strategic activities at the local, national, continental, and international levels and to mobilize resources far more significant than those announced. Indeed, a ready-made solution outside the continent imposed on African leaders with unilateral conditions will never achieve the desired objectives. However, the continent’s human and mineral resources are so crucial that investing today to build stronger and more peaceful nations will generate infinitely more wealth for both nationals and the international community in the medium and long term. Only how many ears hear the advice of Malagasy friends? How many strategists still consider the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Prof. Moussa Bongoyok

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