“I will walk with you”  Thoughts on ‘Kusindikiza’




Africans understand the art of encouragement.  As he holds my hand, my South Sudanese friend Michael Wango walks me through his village of Jombu.


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“I will walk with you”  Thoughts on kusindikiza


Takeaway: there are so many simple acts of grace we can show others. It’s called common courtesy.



Pronounced “ku-sin-di-kiza.”

It’s a Swahili term I have yet to find a comparable English term.

Google Translate gives “To escort” as the English translation for kusindikiza.

“Escort” is a weak sister to the Swahili term.  English fails to catch the African nuance.

The best translation of kusindikiza is “I will walk with you.”

It’s a rich term that plays out in African culture:

When you visit the home of an African, they will accompany you all the way from their gate to your home.

I will walk with you.  kusindikiza

Despite the distance or weather, your host will walk with you.

Despite Distance

Despite Darkness

Despite Rain

Despite the reasonable fear of a black mamba along the unlit path.

“I will walk with you.”

Not ahead nor behind.

Beside you.

I will walk beside you.

I like the way that sounds beside you.

I won’t trail behind, nor will I scamper ahead.

I’ll walk beside you. You can depend on that.

It’s how I visualize my Jesus. He’s walked beside me through the thick and thin, highs and lows

of my life-journey.

I will walk with you.


*  *  *

I learned early on that my African host would often grab my hand as we strolled home.

It’s a unique  African way of showing connection.

As in, we are connected as friends.

Once I finally became comfortable holding another man’s hand in public, I realized what an honor it was.

Without words, he was saying, “Our hearts are connected.”

*  *  *

I related to Joseph an African friend,  about the absence of kusindikiza in America.

I told him, “We Americans leave our guests at our door and quickly lock it behind them. Then as soon as they pull out of the driveway,  we flip the porch light off.”

Joseph shook his head, “That is so sad, Mzee. That is so sad.”

*  *  *

Since returning from Africa, I’ve tried to adjust kusindikiza into my American lifestyle.

I escort each guest to their vehicle, wishing them a warm farewell, and wave as they drive off.

I stand outside until their taillights disappear,

then I turn, go inside,  lock the front door,  and turn off the porch light.

I think of my friend Ugandan friend Joseph. I believe he would be pleased with my American attempt at sindikiza.

It’s a good word to put in your pack.


Kusindikiza It’s s good word. Try it at home.


Takeaway: there are so many simple acts of grace we can show others. It’s called common courtesy.

As they say in Africa, Kwaheri

That’s goodbye.

See you soon on the Creekbank Blog.



DeDe and Abby J. at a tukul (hut) in South Sudan
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