Tsumo

Machongwe maviri haariri pamutanda mumwe

Literal EngTwo cockerels do not crow while perched on the same log.

Definitions

Shona

Zvinonetsa kuti vanhu vaviri vatonge panzvimbo imwe, pangave pamusha kana pabasa.

Eng There cannot be two centers of power in the same realm. There must alway be clarity of leadership.

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Cockerels were very key fowls among the karanga cultures. They served as alarms in the morning for farmers to wake up and work on the fields or as warning to dangers in the village in the form of snakes and other predators. In fact in some instances the cockerel was even used as a sign to announce new leadership. In this proverb however our elders observed that two cockerels do not crow while perched on the same log as there will be a fight for ownership of that log and consequently the fowl run. In this observation they realized that for peace to prevail and clarity of roles, each fowl run may have a few cockerels but only one would crow in the early hours. As such it is important to be clear on who is providing leadership because when there are two centers of power there will be confusion from the followers and fighting amongst the leaders.
The proverb is used to reflect on the importance of having one centre of power and avoiding a leadership confusion when followers are no longer clear which direction to follow. It is a proverb that can be useful in the business and political arena as well as any situation that essentially requires an answer to “where does the buck stop?”
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