The Philosophical Concept of Ìwà rere (Good Character)

IWA

The philosophical concept of Ìwà rere (Good Character) cannot be fully understood without the basic knowledge of Ìwà and what other way can this be explained other than through a beautifully crafted Yorùbá poem…

Tọ́jú ìwà rẹ ọ̀rẹ́ mi

Ọlá a máa ṣí lọ nílé ẹni

Ẹwà a sì máa ṣí lára ènìyàn

Ṣùgbọ́n ìwà ní í bá ‘ni dé sàárè

Èéfín nìwà, rírú ní í rú

Ènìyàn gb’ókèèrè níyì

Ṣùgbọ́n súnmọ́ ni, l’a fi ń mọ̀’ṣe ẹni

Ìwà kò ní í foníwà sílẹ̀

Ìwà ọmọ l’ó ń sọmọ lórúkọ

Ọmọ dára ó ku ìwà

Ara dára ó ku aṣọ

Ẹsẹ̀ dára ó ku bàtà

B’énìyàn dára tí kò níwà

Ó padanù ohun ribiribi

Ìwà rere l’ẹ̀ṣọ́ ènìyàn

Ṣùúrù baba ìwà, ìwà baba àwúre

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The English Translation goes thus . . .

CHARACTER

Preserve your character my friend

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Honour can depart from a house without notice

Beauty can be lost from a once beautiful body

But our character will follow us to our grave

Character is like smoke.

It will ultimately rise to the surface

Someone far away may be considered to be honourable

But closeness exposes a person’s true character

Character, no doubt, stays with the owner forever

A child’s character is what gives the child a befitting name

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No matter how good a child is, character remains important

No matter how good one’s body looks, clothes are still needed

No matter how good the feet are, shoes are still needed

If a person looks good but lacks character

The person is certainly missing what is precious

Good character is like a personal bodyguard

Patience is the father of character, and character is the father of blessings.

Please, reflect on your character. Think of those attributes you have that people, particularly those close to you, are complaining about. In your own interest, please change and begin to exhibit values that will attract general commendations for your own good today and tomorrow. Don’t be conceited!

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