Home » Luhya Culture » Feeling out of your depth? This Maragoli saying ‘mbe mwiga muturi’ is the perfect comfort, helping you regain control and confidence
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Feeling out of your depth? This Maragoli saying ‘mbe mwiga muturi’ is the perfect comfort, helping you regain control and confidence

It’s happened to most of us, feeling out of your depth. If it’s yet to happen, trust me when I say it’s a fact of life. What some have labeled as the impostor syndrome or impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome is part of growth in life. Lucky, as we’ve come to learn, we can always trust in the wisdom of our forebearers. For there is a saying or proverb that’s just right. Like the Maragoli saying ‘mbe mwiga muturi’. Find it’s translation and meaning. I also share lessons based on this saying from my experience hoping that it will help you find comfort, regain control and confidence the next time you feel out of your depth.

First, let’s learn new Maragoli words

Find a more comprehensive resource for learning Maragoli online here. For the beginners among us learning to speak Lulogooli, dig into our free resource 60+ common Maragoli words and their meaning.




Learner, apprentice or student.



Therefore, this Maragoli saying loosely translates to: I’am an apprentice blacksmith. It is important to understand how L’logoli language stylistic elements have been used here for effect. The word used is ‘mbe’ denoting situation and owning it despite the fact that one finds himself in it; more than being indicative of identification.

So when do you use the Maragoli saying mbe mwiga muturi?

This few words passed on from our forebearers come true when one is experiencing self doubt. Be it when undertaking a new project or when you find yourselves undergoing a new life experience.

Let’s start with the latter. I find our current experience living life during this time of coronavirus apt. In particular, social distancing and its demands is a novel experience that calls for reeducation on how we have always lived our lives.

When I recently spoke on phone with my elderly mum back in the village seeking to find out how she was coping, she offered that even though she had gone through similar experiences with localized epidemics of measles back in the day, COVID-19 was a whole new ball game.

“Mbe mwiga muturi,” her exasperated self added this Maragoli saying as the footnote to a list of all the stuff she’s had to learn or relearn: how to properly wash hands; how to make and receive video calls; relating to neighbors, friends and family in ways quite averse to the close knit ways of villages where since time immemorial, the spirit of mulembe has reigned.

All that and more filled her septuagenarian self with self doubt, not undertaking some grand new project, but just living life.

On the former, which I imagine is the likely experience of a novice blacksmith pushing their skills to the market for the first time, I find an article in The Guardian, Impostor syndrome and how to overcome it, a concise description.

The impostor syndrome

The term – also known as ‘impostor phenomenon’ and ‘fraud syndrome’ – as explained by psychotherapist Rachel Buchan – is used to describe a condition where individuals feel unable to acknowledge their accomplishments, skills and talents, and consequently feel as though they’ve arrived in their current situation by accident. “This leaves the individual with the feeling that they are a ‘fraud’, taking credit for something they don’t deserve, and an anxiety that they will one day be ‘found out’ or ‘exposed’.”

The impostor syndrome and how to overcome it.

What the Maragoli saying ‘mbe mwiga muturi’ teaches us about self doubt


  • Because the proof of life like a pudding is in the tasting, life makes an apprentice of us all.
  • Which means that the craft of life, like any age old craft, is multi-disciplinary requiring us to continuously learn a multitude of skills and their application in a myriad of approaches and environments. As a result, even masters of a craft — of life or any other — if coerced, cajoled and shepherded into certain corners of the craft they are practitioners of, they begin to feel a discomfort. A discomfort that shines light, only it seems, on the trepid parts of their character and being.
  • Overcoming this feeling of self doubt, the feeling of being out of depth (at least from the wisdom of my mother who’s eaten lots of salt) is sometimes a matter of saying to one self: mbe mwiga muturi. I am like an apprentice blacksmith. That way, you own the moment, not it owning you. And once you own the moment, the fog clouding your mind clears and thus you ask yourself: What does a good apprentice do? Even as they learn, they are able to: remind themselves of their achievements; seek how to gain an objective overview of a challenge; determine how the challenge plays to their strengths and weaknesses; create a roadmap to completion and finally, ask for assistance where needed.

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