In Southern Africa, we enjoy green maize, or corn, during the summer months. We eat it roasted, cooked, steamed, pounded, or grilled. Having just finished some roasted corn, my thoughts turned to a saying of the Kiluba people of the Democratic Republic of Congo. They say “Mataba makange amenanga.” The English equivalent is: “Roasted maize (corn) grows.”
As I crunched a few more bites of roasted corn, I pondered the saying. Literally speaking, of course, only fresh corn grows, not roasted corn. But it takes caring hands to roast corn, and that’s the point of the proverb. Roast corn is a metaphor for good deeds, and like seeds sown in fertile soil, good deeds will germinate, grow, and bear more good deeds.
Wise King Solomon had the same lesson in mind when he wrote, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again” (Ecclesiastes 11:1).
For a few days while I stayed in Lubumbashi, I interacted with a number of Kiluba people. Their generosity certainly reflected their proverb, “Roasted maize grows.”
All of us, including the Kiluba, have a lot to learn about good deeds, of course. But in the meantime, all of us can practice roasting some corn with full assurance that it will grow!
Do something good for someone. That person will remember your caring hands and perhaps do something for someone else.
“Do for other people as you would like them to do for you,” Jesus said. That’s how roasted corn grows.
Kalengule Kaoma lives in Zambia, Africa, and is a mission director for a number of African nations.
Author: Kalengule Kaoma