UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Exploring Yoruba fire cultures through proverbs Asiyanbi, Adeniyi


This article explores Yoruba proverbs as an essential source of popular wisdom on socio-environmental practices, in particular fire knowledge and practices. It suggests that popular wisdom around fire can be accessed through the creative reconstruction and interpretation of the historical contexts of Yoruba proverbs. Learning from the everyday knowledge and accumulated wisdom of ordinary people holds significant promise at a time of unprecedented socio-environmental crisis and widespread calls for transformative change across scales. Drawing on a collection of Yoruba proverbs, broader Yoruba oral literature, Yoruba popular culture, and a cross-disciplinary selection of academic literature, this article curates ten Yoruba proverbs on the theme of fire, using these as an entry point to interrogate aspects of ecology, local understanding and cultural practices of living with fire among the Yoruba people.

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