no matter how long a log stays in the water, it doesn’t become a crocodile

no matter how long a log stays in the water, it doesn’t become a crocodile
Proverb of the Bambara people of Mali, meaning that essential characteristics do not change because of external circumstances. Versions exist in several West and Central African languages.

1976 K. M. AITHNARD Some Aspects of Cultural Policy in Togo 36 As two Togolese proverbs say, ‘If you do not know where you are going try at least to know where you have come from’, for ‘it is not because the log has floated for a long time in the water that it will become a crocodile.’

1987 P. STOLLER & C. OAKES In Sorcery’s Shadow 21 Although the people of Mehanna professed their eternal friendship, I was a stranger..I knew that I would never cross the invisible threshold to become an insider... A floating log does not become a crocodile.

2001 http://www.afriprov.org ‘African Proverb of the Month’ June No matter how long a log stays in the water, it doesn’t become a crocodile.

2007 M. K. ASANTE An Afrocentric Manifesto 36 ‘We were Africans who retained much of Africa even through the slavery institution and we also were deeply affected by Europe in America, but we remained Africans.’ Wolof wisdom says, ‘Wood may remain in water for ten years but it will never become a crocodile.’


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