Tsumo

Kugocha kunoda kwaamai, kwemwana kunodzima moto

Literal EngRoasting is done by mother; the child will put out the fire.

Definitions

Shona

Vanhu vane masimba kana kuti basa rekuita chimwe chinuhu vanorambidza kana kutsamwira vamwe kana votevedzerwa. Kana munhu asina masimba ekuita chimwe chinhu chinogona kutadza kuita sezvachinofanira kuita.

Eng People have different roles or authority; if you do something outside your role or without the requisite authority it may fail. People with certain authority to do something will easily criticize those who attempt the same but without the requisite authority.

Learn

The proverb is based on the roles and authority of a mother to a child whereby a child will be criticized for doing something that the mother does. It highlights two things which illicit two uses of the proverb. One is the failures that may occur when the child attempts to roast leading to the fire going out. This failure is based on the fact that it is not the child’s role and hence the child lacks the appropriate ability. The second is the fact that the mother will criticize the child while in fact the child is merely emulating the mother. Hence it also highlights hypocrisy in that the mother cannot be blamed if she is responsible for the fire going out. Earlier interpretations also ascribe intergenerational elements in that it is always the young that are corrected while the old are beyond reproach.
This proverb is used in two ways. One is to highlight hypocrisy where one criticizes another for doing the same thing they do simply because they are in a position of authority or power that affords them an irreproachable role. The other is to sanction those who are not empowered to do certain things because it is not their role as they are bound to fail due to lack of capacity.
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