Nyansa is an Akan word for wisdom. Among the Akan people, Nyansa is understood to be a virtue that is acquired through careful attention to learning and experience. Among the Akan, lessons in wisdom are distilled by elders and stored in proverbs. Some examples include:
Knowledge is like a garden, if it is not cultivated it cannot be harvested.
Wisdom is something we acquire through learning; it is not something we buy.
When knowledge stands alone, it may be compartmentalized and fail to lead its possessor down good and life-giving paths. The cultivation of “nyansa”, however, leads to a deeper transformation of the person. For this reason, knowledge and wisdom must work together. According to N.K. Dzobo:
“Having Nyansa…is not just being in possession of a series of guides to conduct; it is an attitude or fundamental disposition which shapes the behaviour of the person who has it. The wise men of the indigenous society (nunyala – Ewe;anyansato – Akan) are therefore not just knowledgeable men and women, but persons who have a consistent mode of response to life’s experiences. In this regard they can be said to be people who practice a philosophy of life informed by nyansa….Without knowledge (nunya) and wisdom (nyansa) human life returns to animality; they are the divine creative Intelligence and Principle at work in the creation, organization and support of the universe and of life.” *
At Nyansa Classical Community we build on the Biblical tradition of wisdom as we seek to shape a new generation of young people.
*See N.K. Dzobo, “Knowledge and Truth: Ewe and Akan Conceptions”, at