african-proverbs-curated-by-esquavi

I have collected over 1,000+ inspirational, motivational, educational African proverbs so that you can have them in your pocket wherever and whatever you do in life.

The African proverbs are will teach you wisdom, whether young or old, educated or not educated.

african-proverbs-curated-by-esquavi

What is an African proverb?

An African proverb is a simple yet powerful expression of truth. African proverbs are often metaphorical and are handed down from generations to generation.

Why are African proverbs important in Life?

The great Nigerian author Chinua Achebe once wrote: “Proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten.”

Acholi Proverbs

Who are the Acholi people?

The Acholi people are a Luo nation found in Magwi County in South Sudan and Uganda.

He is like a drum which makes a lot of noise but is hollow inside.

Women have no chief.

Old and new millet seeds end up in the same mill.

A child is a child of everyone.

Death is a scar that never heals.

The water pot presses upon the small circular pad.

A dog knows the places he is thrown food.

Staying near the anthill turned the Antelope brown.

A strong man’s head is full of scars.

The pot of water falls from your head when you have just reached the door of your homestead.

A crazy man can be recognised not by his words, but bu his actions.

A monkey left behind laughs at the other’s tail.

Just because you are poor does not mean you have to sleep with your mother.

Acholi Proverbs

Akamba Proverbs

The Hyena with a cub does not consume all the food.

The old woman looks after the child to grow its teeth and the young one, in turn, looks after the old woman when she loses her teeth.

Akamba Proverbs

Akan Proverbs

The good mother knows what her children will eat.

When the bag tears, the shoulders get a rest.

It is one’s deeds that are counted, not one’s years.

A rat says, “What belongs to me, is in my stomach, and not in my mouth.”

Only a wise person can solve a difficult problem.

When you push an old woman, where she falls should not be your headache.

A child who is to be successful is not to be reared exclusively on a bed of down.

The Crocodile does not die under the water so that we can call the monkey to celebrate its funeral.

If all the seeds that fall were to grow, then no one could follow the path under the trees.

It is the person who knows how to shoot whom we put on the track of an animal.

One should never rub bottoms with a porcupine.

Fowls will not spare a cockroach that falls in their midst.

A tree that has been twisted for thirty-years cannot be straightened in a single day.

You do not need a big stick to break a Cock’s head.

It is a fool whose own tomatoes are sold to him.

The one who asks questions doesn’t lose his way.

Akamba Proverbs

Algerian Proverbs

When I think of others’ misfortunes, I forget mine.

The heart has reasons which scholars cannot understand.

The word of a friend will make you cry. The word of an enemy will make you laugh.

Algerian Proverbs

Ambede Proverbs

If you carry the egg basket do not dance

If you want to lean on a tree, first make sure it can hold you

Ambede Proverbs

Amharic Proverb

As porridge benefits those who heat and eat it, so does a child benefit those that rear it

Amharic Proverb

Angolan Proverb

You cannot do without water, even if it drowned your child

Angolan Proverb

Annang Proverb

A razor may be sharper than an axe but it cannot cut wood

Annang Proverb

Baganda Proverbs

Parents give birth to the body of their children, but not always to their characters.

The one who loves an unsightly person is the one who makes them beautiful.

The eyes of the trapper are as subject to reddening as those of the small animal that he pursues.

An ugly child of your own is more to you than a beautiful one belonging to your neighbour.

A united family eats from the same plate.

Baganda Proverbs

Bahaya Proverb

You only understand the joys of parenthood when you have your first child, you only understand the mystery of death when in mourning.

Bahaya Proverb

Bambara Proverb

He who has a boss is not the master of his burden.

Bambara Proverb

Bantu Proverbs

There is no return, worse luck for could I return, I would foresee what has come into the country.

A child one does not instruct on return, one instructs him when going.

“Dance, father!” people’s eyes don’t eat, they just stare.

The bitter heart eats its owner.

Bantu Proverbs

Beninese Proverbs

You must attend to your business with the vendor in the market, and not to the noise of the market.

Fear a silent man. He has lips like a drum.

What you give you get ten times over.

Beauty without grace is like a rose without smell.

She who knows the matter beforehand confuses the liar.

A friend who would die with one is rare: he who would do so accompanies one even to war.

A great affair covers up a small matter.

There is no god like one’s stomach; we must sacrifice to it every day.

Words are like spears, once they leave your lips they can never come back.

Many words do not fill a basket.

Before you ask a man for clothes, look at the clothes that he is wearing.

An old story does not open the ear as a new one does.

The young cannot teach tradition to the old.

If a child takes an interest in crying, its mother will develop an interest in comforting it.

If you never offer palm wine to your uncle, you will not know many proverbs.

Work is medicine for poverty.

The misfortune that comes into town does not wear a turban.

Beninese Proverbs

Buli Proverb

If an arrow has not entered deeply, then its removal is not hard.

Burundi Proverbs

Better little, than too little.

Crying a lot does not give you peace of mind.

Burundi Proverbs

Cameroonian Proverbs

The heart of the wise man lies quiet like limpid water.

There are no shortcuts to the top of the palm tree.

If love is a sickness, patience is the remedy.

A bird that allows itself to be caught will find a way of escaping.

A man’s wealth may be superior to him.

It is not because the lion has grown pale that you will call it, a cat.

Cameroonian Proverbs

Chadian Proverb

A person with too much ambition cannot sleep in peace.

Chadian Proverb

Chewa Proverb

If you have no teeth, do not break to clay cooking pot.

Chewa Proverb

Congolese Proverbs

Those who are absent are always wrong.

Little by little grow the bananas.

No matter how full the river, it still wants to grow.

The friends of our friends are our friends.

Prepare now for the solutions of tomorrow.

The bee is the doctor of flowers.

A tree cannot stand without roots.

Love is like a baby: it needs to be treated tenderly.

To love someone who does not love you is like shaking a tree to make the dew drops fall.

Children are the reward of life.

When your neighbour is wrong you point a finger, but when you are wrong you hide.

A single bracelet does not jingle.

The chicken that digs for food will not sleep hungry.

Children are the reward of life.

Love is like a baby: it needs to be treated tenderly.

Those who are absent are always wrong.

If you are a leader, be like the moon, not like the sun.

It is only a male elephant that can save another one from a pit.

Individual products contribute to community wealth.

No matter how full the river it still wants to swell more.

The Chief’s wealth is his subjects.

The jealous man loss his flesh by looking at the fat bellies of others.

A needle can overcome a Chief.

When the leg does not walk, the stomach does not eat.

A pretty basket does not prevent worries.

Death does not sound a trumpet.

Lovers do not hide their nakedness.

Man is like palm-wine: when young, sweet but without strength; when old, strong but harsh.

When the bee comes to your house, let her have a beer; you may want to visit the Bee’s house someday.

The impotent man does not eat spicy foods.

The bee is the doctor of flowers.

The art of negotiating is acquired from childhood.

Congolese Proverbs

Egyptian Proverbs

Birds of all kinds will end up landing.

Examine what is said, not him who speaks.

One foot isn’t enough to walk with.

More precious than our children are the children of our children.

If the wind blows, it enters every crevice.

Do a good deed and throw it into the sea.

Learn politeness from the impolite.

Wine, Women and Food give gladness to the heart.

Love and let the world know, hate in silence.

Run hard like a wild beast if you will, but you won’t get any reward greater than that destined for you.

False ambition serves the neck.

More precious than our children are the children of our children.

Youth is beautiful, even in cattle.

When the Angels present themselves, the Devils abscond.

The beetle is a beauty in the eyes of its mother.

Whoever is ashamed to sleep with his wife will never have children.

One who marries for love alone will have bad days but good nights.

Beautiful discourse is rarer than emerald, yet it can be found among the servant girls at the grindstones.

When a woman is not singing, she is not working much either.

The barking of a dog does not disturb the man on a camel.

The idiot who has his eye on your Wife is like a blood-sucking fly.

He who understands music understands the cosmos.

Do not rejoice over what has not yet happened.

If you marry a monkey for his wealth, the money goes and the monkey remains as is.

A man’s ruin lies in his tongue.

Egyptian Proverbs

Ethiopian Proverbs

The elephant does not limp when walking on thorns.

Where a woman rules, stream run uphill.

What is inflated too much will break into fragments.

The strong bull is overcome when it limps.

He who learns teaches.

Where there is no shame, there is no honour.

Even in the monastery, there is an occasion for song and merriment.

When a strong man sends a message, he sends it with a weak man.

When the shepherd comes home in peace, the milk is sweet.

You cannot build a house for last year’s summer.

A fool at forty is a fool indeed.

A fool is thirsty in the midst of the water.

Cactus is bitter only to him who tastes it.

Dine with a stranger but save your love for your family.

The elephant does not limp when walking on thorns.

Ethiopian Proverbs

Ewe Proverb

It is not the cook’s fault when the cassava turns out to be hard and tasteless.

Ewe Proverb

Gambian Proverb

If your only tool is a hammer, you will see every problem as a nail.

Gambian Proverb

Ghanaian Proverbs

One camel does not make fun of the other camel’s hump.

If the elders leave you a legacy of dignified language, you do not abandon it and speak a childish language.

Numbers can achieve anything.

Where error gets to, correction cannot reach.

The elders of the village are the boundaries.

Those who are born on top of the anthill take a short time to grow tall.

When a fish rots, the head stinks first.

If there were no elephant in the jungle, the buffalo would be a great animal.

The brother or sister who does not respect the traditions of the elders will not be allowed to eat with the elders.

If your sister is in the group of singing girls, your name always comes into the song.

So many little things make a man love a woman in a big way.

If a blind man says he will throw a stone at you, he probably has his foot on one.

All heads are the same, but not all thoughts are the same.

One head alone does not go into the council.

If we put a hammer in every person’s hand, could they all become blacksmiths?

A child does not laugh at the ugliness of its mother.

Even the lion, the King of the forest, protects himself against flies.

A woman is a flower in a garden; her husband is the fence around it.

Even though the old man is strong and hearty, he will not live forever.

He who is guilty has much to say.

A cracked bell can never sound well.

A woman is like a blanket: if you cover yourself with it, it bothers you; if you throw it aside you will feel the cold.

Hunger is felt by the slave and king alike.

A healthy person who begs for food is an insult to a generous farmer.

An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep.

It is no shame at all to work for money.

The good mother knows what her children will eat.

Wisdom is not like money to be tied up and hidden.

If a blind man says he will throw a stone at you, he probably has his foot on one.

If there were no elephant in the jungle, the buffalo would be a great animal.

If you educate a man you educate one individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family.

The elders of the village are the boundaries.

When a fish rots, the head stinks first.

Coffee and love taste best when hot.

Great men have big hearts.

A donkey which goes to grow horns returns with its ears cut off.

One does not cut the tusks of an elephant.

One who plants grapes by the roadside, and one who marries a pretty woman, share the same problem.

A home without a woman is like a barn without cattle.

What one hopes for is always better than what one has.

A wise man cannot save a decaying country as manure cannot save an eroding land.

The witness of a Rat is another Rat.

Where there is no shame there is no honour.

The fool speaks the wise man listens.

Evil enters like a splinter and spreads like an Oaktree.

A bull does not bellow in a foreign country.

A cat goes to a monastery, but she remains a cat.

The sheep with a strong master sleeps with his tail outside the house.

The cattle are as good as the pasture in which they graze.

One’s strength in conflict comes from one’s verbal skills.

When the heart overflows, it comes out through the mouth.

Unless you call out, who will open the door?

When one is in love, a cliff becomes a meadow.

The best of mankind is a farmer; the best food is the fruit.

Better a single decision-maker than a thousand advisors.

Where a woman rules, the stream runs uphill.

You think of water when the well is empty.

The mouse is silent while labouring, but when the baby is conceived, she cries.

The frog wanted to be as big as the elephant, and burst.

An elephant with a bad leg limps along.

Madness does not govern a country; discussion does.

He who does not know the extent of his power falls and is bruised.

We do not see God, we only see his works.

One who runs alone cannot be outrun.

Move your neck according to the music.

You can trust neither the rainy season sky nor babies bottoms.

The voice of a strong person is obeyed immediately.

One who recovers from sickness forgets about God.

Listening accumulates power.

The weaver must be patient because the weak threads break easily.

The point of the needle must pass first.

Elephants do not beat each other.

Singing Hallelujah everywhere does not prove piety.

A blade won’t cut another blade; a cheat won’t cheat another cheat.

Marriage is like a groundnut; you have to crack it to see what is inside.

Only when you have crossed the river can you say the Crocodile has a lump on his snout.

He who digs too deep for a fish may come out with a snake.

The Lizzard does not eat hot chillies for the Frog to sweat.

“Though I am not edible,” says the vulture, “yet I nurse my eggs in the branches of a high tree because man is hard to be trusted.”

A strong man is remembered on the day of the fight.

A crazy chief is more noted than ten normal people.

Where there is a head one does not put a hat on the knee.

A good name cannot be eaten, it is money that counts.

The surface of the water is beautiful, but it is no good to sleep on
Do good because of tomorrow
The creator of a dance should not be excluded from it
The vulture does not need a microscope to look for food on the refuse dump
No matter how a man urinates, the last drop falls between his thighs
The crab does not bite but it is it’s greeting that hurts
A child who knows how to wash his hands, dines with elders
A people without a leader run the town
The music lover carries the drums
If there had been no poverty in Europe, then the white man would not have come and spread his clothes in Africa
Numbers can achieve anything
Where error gets tom correction cannot reach
The grasshopper which is always near its mother eats the best food
Several repeated visits to the mud pit enable the wasp to build its house
Does humanity become civilized all at once?
By coming and going, a Bird constructs its nest
The hunter’s name is always connected to the meat of the Elephant
No man rules forever on the throne of Time
We should not think we are enjoying the taste of meat when in fact it is our own tongues we are eating
All that we do on Earth, we shall account for kneeling in heaven
A vulture lives long due to its stupidity
If you find no fish, you have to eat bread
The one who fetches the water is the one likely to break the pot
The length of a frog can only be determined after it dies
Monkeys play by sizes
In a community of beggars, stealing and not begging, is considered a crime
One rebuke is greater to the wise than hundred blows on a fool
Ingratitude is sooner or later fatal to its author
People start preparing for the night when the day is still very young
Yam is sweet, but one should eat it in the normal way, lest swallowing chokes him
When a fish rots, the head stinks first
You do not become a chief by simply sitting ona big stool
As you worship plantain, remember to worship banana as well
You become wise when you begin to run out of money
A person who rides bicycle or horse does not know that the ground is hot
A blind man does not pass by an angry gathering
True power comes through cooperation and silence
No one completes a journey and then goes back to look for the beginning
Misfortune does not restrict his visits to one day
A smart opportunist can be an intellectual moron
Nature gave us two cheeks instead of one to make it easier to eat hot food
Nobody shows Heaven to a child
A leader does not listen to rumours
If you notice your neighbour’s beard is on fire, then you better get some water by yours
A leader goes to war when he is insulted
The little hand does not beat the big hand
It is the calm and silent water that drowns a man
If nakedness promiss to cloth you please be mindful of her name
If the elders leave you a legacy of dignified language, you do not adandon it and speak a childish language
A stranger dances – he does not sing
To go back to tradition is the first step forward
Everyone has God-given beauty
If a tortoise is to receive an injection, then it’s family members know sometime about it
When you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him
One head does not contain all the wisdom
You must eat an Elephant one bite at a time
When a man is wealthy, he may wear an old cloth
Dog
Someone who has never been bitten by a snake is always scared of an earthworm
Hate has no medicine

Ashanti Proverbs

When a woman is hungry, she says, “roast something for the children that they might eat.”

What is bad luck for one man is good luck for another.

He who cannot dance will say, The drum is bad.

One cannot both feast and become rich.

By the time the fool has learned the game, the players have dispersed.

When one would climb a tree, one begins from the bottom and not the top
Someone should carry the load that they are able to carry

A stranger is like a child.

Force against force equals more force.

The biting fly has no one to come to his aid in trouble.

If you are in hiding, don’t light a fire.

A physician’s fee is not paid until the sickness is over.

Fire and gunpowder do not sleep together.

Money is sharper than a sword.

The poor man and the rich man do not play together.

A person who struggles constantly to acquire things will always fail before they get what they want.

Evil begets evil. Revenge begets revenge.

If you are too smart to pay the doctor, you had better be too smart to get ill
If you understand the beginning well, the end will not trouble you.

The moon moves slowly but it crosses the town.

There is no medicine against old age.

If nothing touches the palm-leaves they do not rustle.

When the Cock is drunk, he forgets about the Hawk

When a man is coming toward you, you need not say: “Come here.”

The child which is to turn out any good is not reared entirely on a beautiful mat.

If you want to speak to the Creator, speak to the wind.

A private matter is not like the old cloth that has been spread to dry in the marketplace.

A man is made in the forefront of battle and not at home

Wood already touched by fire is not hard to set alight

You must act as if it is impossible to fail

When the archer was born, he did not hold a bow

No tree ever bore fruit without first having flowers

Two men in a burning house must not stop to argue

The ruin of a nation begins in the home of its people
Do not follow the path. Go where there is no path to begin the trail

Ashanti Proverbs

Guinean Proverb

Knowledge without wisdom is like water in the sand
Around a flowering tree there are many insects
Knowledge without wisdom is like water in the sand

Hausa Proverbs

Even the Niger river must flow around an island
Even sugar itself may spoil a good dish
If you do not agree with the phases of the moon, get a ladder and repair it
Faults are like a hill: You stand on top of your own and talk about those of other people

Igbo Proverbs

The big game often appears when the hunter has given up the hunt for the day
When the mother goat breaks into the yam store her kid watches her
The rain does not recognize anyone as a friend it drenches all equally
Words are sweet, but they never take the place of food
He who is carrying an elephant on his head does not look down to pick a snail.
A bird that flies off the earth and lands on an anthill is still on the ground
There is no one who does not like soup with fish in it
Who gives a squirrel palm fruit that has been roasted in the fire?
When people expect things to be done perhaps by others, that means nothing is done
The one who came to the toad’s house and told the toad to bring him a chair–did he see the one that the toad was sitting on?
If one plucks fruit with the intention of filling his bag, he falls to his death at the base of the tree
A chicken who claims to be mad wild has not seen the drunken fox
Nothing the eye can see will make it bleed
If one does not chew water he does not know that water has bones
Okra should not be stronger than the planter
The one against whom you practice divination surpasses you in being a divine
One who comes to visit a person should not come to behave badly, and he should leave without developing a hunchback
When one is an invited guest, one does not tread the chicken to death
The bushfowl tells his children that they should gather up yams and they should gather up roots, because there is no knowing when the farmer might dig up all of his yams
If one person cooks for a group, they eat all the food, but if a group cooks for one person, he will not eat all the food
The moon comes out; whenever it comes out is when it shines
A head of palm fruit does not fall to the ground empty of grass
He who holds me to the ground holds himself
If one tells of the place where the rain met him, he is given a place to warm up by the fire
It is not the day the child spills oil that he is flogged, but rather the day he spills crude oil
When the food is properly done it reaches the ant
The monkey said that she would not deny that her child whom she carried on her back ate up fruit, because she did not know whether he stretched out his hand and plucked fruit
Laughter does not show friendship
The word which is already spoken for is agreed to by a nod of the head
It is he who owns the corpse who carries it at the head
One who does things when he can afford to do them is better than a thief.
If you finish defecating but it does not cover the opening, it is dysentery
He who bathes in tears knows himself.
If a person makes a will but does not die, he will be embarrassed.
If the hen stops clucking, what will she use to train her children?
After the slave has served the chief, the rewards of the chieftaincy will reach him.
One does not tell a deaf person that war has broken out.
A dog may refuse food but he does not refuse to answer a call
If a deceitful person buries himself, one of his arms will stick out
All trees grow in the forest but the ora singled itself out
Regardless of how dysentery affects the cow, she will still fill the basket
When the snake bites the tortoise he cuts his mouth
When a son of the land does something bad, he is forcibly dragged through his father’s courtyard
If one rejoices when someone dies, the pain of death awaits him
Greet the deaf person–if the sky does not hear, the earth will hear
Good salt returns from the market
A soft word causes anger to turn back
A humble heart helps settle quarrels
The grub falls from above to the earth and the chicken goes to peck it up; the grub then asks it, “Since when have we had any quarrel with each other?”
The works that we do are the things by which we are remembered
It is not the mouth used to borrow palm kernels that is used to repay them
When a woman scorns her husband, her rear end dries up
A stubborn chicken hears things in the stew pot
If an old woman stubbornly builds herself a spacious compound, her dead body is carried to her own soup
Seeing but not speaking is characteristic of eelders; speaking but not listening is characteristic of younger people
If advice is given to a head but it does not hear, when it enters the bag, it hears
Rat, do not chew the doctor’s bag on purpose, and doctor, do not starve the rat on purpose.
One who does not agree agrees on the death mat
One who serves benefits by the service
Obedience is better than making sacrifices to the gods
The grasshopper which was killed by the okpoko was deaf
The old woman who provokes a fight and is not pushed to the ground, another day will provoke again
The ant said that he knew what it would be like for him in the rainy season, then used the dry season to gather his food
It is not by staring hard that one sees the road
A wise man in Aba is a fool in Aba
A planned war does not affect a lame person
Bad deeds affect the doer, good deeds affect the doer
Those who rush toward a fight do not know that fighting means death
While applying eye-clearing medicine, someone comes and says to put some pepper in
The general public does not know who is being weighed down by his problems
The poor person’s goat is his cow
The newborn child does not throw its father up
When the black ant bites the buttocks it learns some sense
The titled man, not knowing what to say, says that his companions have already said what he would have said
The young man, when his girl friend is eating seed yam, says that he feels like planting it in the ground
He who kills his plantain tree with his own gun does not know that it is his own property being lost
To say, “Lead me home,” indicates fear, as there is no one who does not know the way to his own house
The big-eyed chief is not necessarily the “first-eyed”
Hot soup should be eaten slowly
One who keeps on storing up yams should take time to visit his mother’s home quarter because it is not the yam barn he will run to when he is in trouble
The eye is used to tell whether the corn is ripe
The toad said that he stooped down while waiting for the one he had sent to buy him a chair
If you carry out the desires of a prisoner you will be setting him free
The chicken scratches ahead and scratches behind and asks her children which is better
The mushroom that knows what it is doing says that its waist does not reach the ground
When a child is given too much, he asks whether he really owns all of this
If dog meat is prepared carefully, even rice-lovers will eat it
A well-traveled child exceeds a gray-haired person in knowledge. Knowledge does not come from age
While attempting to satisfy his curiosity, the bullet struck the monkey in the head
The child’s cry yields no good results from the confirmed bachelor
The slave who laughs when he sees his companion’s grave being dug should remember that his day is coming
If you speak proverbs to a wise person, he will understand
One speaks in proverbs to a fool in order to confuse him
One moves in an age group or in a group of those who are his equal in knowledge
You should not, until it is night time, speak badly of one who worships his personal god
A dead person shall have all the sleep necessary
Unity is strength
Make hay while the sun shines
Where one falls is where his god pushed him down
What was secret is revealed in the market place
A goat that dies in a barn was never killed by hunger
Who knows how water entered into the stalk of the pumpkin?
If the vulture fails to hover at the end of a sacrifice, then you know that something happened in the land of spirits
Salute the deaf; if the heavens don’t hear, the earth will hear
The female toad said that husband is so sweet that when she got married, she carried her husband permanently on the back
A mature eagle feather will ever remain pure
The tortoise said that many hands at work is enjoyable, but many mouths to feed can be embarrassing.
The tortoise said that it always travels with its musical instrument in case it meets other musicians.
If a woman decides to make the soup watery, the husband will learn to dent the Garri before dipping it into the soup.
Tell a child to wash his body, he washes his stomach.
There are various leaves in the bush, but people go in to look for okazi leaves.
If a snake fails to show its venom, little kids will use it in tying firewood.
The grasshopper that runs into the mist of fowls ends up in the land of spirits.
A presumed fool who sleeps in his father’s house is not a fool.
Those who defecate at night see the ghost grasshopper.
If a child lifts his father, his scrotum will blindfold him.
If one fails to lick his lips, the harmattan will do it.
The chicken says it looks up when drinking water because what kills it comes from the sky.
A fly that has no counselor follows the corpse to the grave.
Our wife, our wife: come midnight and we will know whose wife she really is.
When sleep becomes enjoyable, we snore.
May one’s visitor not constitute a problem, so that on his departure he will not leave with a hunchback.
When the baby wren is growing, it looks like it would be bigger than its mother.
The chicken frowns at the cooking pot, ignoring the knife that killed it.
When something greater than the pigmy cricket enters its hole, it takes off.
The blacksmith who does know how to forge a metal gong should look at the tail of a kite.
The ocean never swallows a person with whose leg it does not come in contact.
He who walks before his godly guardian does the race of his life
When the fowl farts, the ground becomes a nuisance.
A master chef is not blessed with a good harvest of okra.
The tortoise gears up to besides a river that swallowed an elephant: is it going to fly over this river or just jump over?
The forest that denies you firewood has massaged your neck.
He who calls whenever Elder Ene kills a deer, let him call if the deer kicks the living daylight out of Elder Ene.
If you bite me on the butt, despite the danger of sinking your teeth into fecal matter, then if I bite you on the head, I will disregard the danger of sinking my teeth into cerebral matter.
A drunken fowl has not met a mad fox.
He who abhors dog meat should not eat dog-meat soup.
If you tell a wise one, he understands; tell a dunce, he runs into the bush.

Ivorian Proverbs

Too much discussion leads to a quarrel
A bad son gives his mother a bad name
In the village that you don’t know, the chickens have teeth

Jamaican Proverbs

The Soldier’s blood, the General’s blood
Eat with the Devil but give him a long spoon
You can’t take the milk back from the Coffee
Too much hurry, and get there tomorrow; take time, get there today
Those who can’t dance say the music is no good
Empty pots will never boil over
A little pepper burns a big man’s mouth
If a Flea had money it would buy its own Dog
The spider and the fly can’t make a deal
If you saw what the river carried, you would never drink the water

Kenyan Proverbs

He who is unable to Dance says that the yard is stony
All monkeys cannot hang on the same branch
The blame of the antelope is on the hunter
A fully grown up tree cannot be bent into a walking stick
Only someone else can scratch your back
The cow that bellows does so for all cows
Leadership comes from God
An empty pot makes the loudest noise
If you do not know death, look at the grave
When the lion cannot find meat, it eats grass
One whose seeds have not sprouted does not give up planting.
One whose seeds have not sprouted does not give up planting
However much it rains on you, no wild banana tree will grow on your head
One who relates with a corrupt person likewise gets corrupted
Unity is the real thing
Suppression of hunger leads to death
We should put out fire while it is still small
To lead is not to run roughshod over people
One arrow can knock down an elephant
No water without waves
Even if you bewitch in the night, you will be known
Glory does not come by calling
The stick in the hand kills the Snake
When you mention the person with one eye, the one with the eye problem reacts
A slippery person is not a king
The hen pecks and wipes its beak
Every door has its own key
An empty pot makes the loudest noise
A slave has no choice
No masika (rain season) without mosquitoes
Only a medicine man gets rich by sleeping
A child’s lie is like a dead fish in a pond that in the end, always comes to the surface, explains his mother
It is the grass that suffers when elephants fight
Slowly, slowly, porridge goes into the gourd
An orphaned calf licks its own back
The water of the river flows on without waiting for the thirsty man
If you receive a gift don’t measure it
Seeing is different from being told
There is no phrase that doesn’t have double meaning
A fully grown tree cannot be bent into a walking stick
Baboons do not go far from the place of their birth
Do not allow the belly to make you useless
However much it rains on you, no wild banana tree will grow on your head
It is the belly which daily gives thanks
Only a medicine man gets rich by sleeping
Only someone else can scratch your back
The stick in the hand kills the snake
There is not such a thing in the world as a sheep of many colours
To lead is not to run roughshod over people

Kikuyu Proverb

Rich people cook their food in a potsherd
When the food is cooked there is no need to wait before eating it
Rich people sometimes eat bad food
The song of a stranger-woman is answered after she has gone
Every elephant is able to carry it’s tusks.

Krio Proverb

An okra tree does not grow taller that its master.

Lesotho Proverb

If the palm of the hand itches it signifies the coming of great luck

Liberian Proverb

Good millet is known at the harvest

Maasai Proverbs

Do not allow the belly to make you useless
Lonely is one
If a stranger comes to stay with you, do not forget when you lay aside his weapons that he is hungry
It is the belly which daily gives thanks
The belly does not swell if a woman is not pregnant
The eye cannot penetrate darkness
Don’t fight a lion with a stick
The mouth which ate fat shall eat excrement, and that which ate excrement shall eat fat
You are as clever as Konyek
The slayer of the enemy has become a coward, and the poltroon has become a brave man
Don’t make a cloth for carrying a child in before the child is born
It cannot be cleansed with a brown he-Goat
The withered tree will destroy the healthy tree when it falls down
The neck cannot become the head
Events follow one another like days
The daily path never ends
It is impossible to find a man who has everything, but it is possible to find one who enjoys the things he has
It is the same thing when a man is once there whether he has been called or whether he has come of his own free will
A bargain cannot be held in the palm of the land
Life has seasons
Be familiar with observation as you are with the place you live
Even the Ostrich, with its long neck and sharp eyes, cannot see what will happen in the future
The Forest has ears
Warriors and cripples remain apart
Friendship likes distance
The Village which is not discussed is not built
Cheating and doing something by force is not the same
A Proverb does not answer itself
The Zebra cannot do away with his stripes
The children are the bright moon
Foolishness first, then wisdom
The eye cannot penetrate the darkness
You cannot force water up a hill, The night has ears, Baboons do not go far from the place of their birth, there is not such a thing in the world as a sheep of many colours

Malagasy Proverbs

A canoe does not know who the leader is when it turns over, everyone gets wet.
A little rain each day will fill the rivers to overflowing
Wealth is like hair in the nose: it hurts to be separated whether from a little or from a lot
The food which is prepared has no master
The child of a rat is a rat
The Dog’s bark is not might but fright
Advice is a stranger; if he’s welcome he stays for the night; if not, he leaves the same day

Malawian Proverbs

The words of the elders become sweet some day
A quarrelsome chief does not hold a village together
Even the fiercest leader in the world is overcome by sleep
Obstinacy does not redeem anyone
The betrothed of good is evil the betrothed of life is death the betrothed of love is divorce
A hyena will not change its spots even if it moves to a different forest
The betrothed of good is evil, the betrothed of life is death, the betrothed of love is divorce
The words of the elders become sweet some day.
Even the fiercest leader in the world is overcome by sleep

Malian Proverb

When the baobab tree has fallen, the goats start climbing on it

Meru Proverbs

I shall come for the cows after the donkeys have grown horns
It’s like removing a hyena from a pit
Let it be a bite of a cockroach and fly with the wind
He has rubbed shoulders against a baobab tree.
The vultures would not land at the village in which there is a wise old man

Moroccan Proverb

When a thing becomes perfect, it soon fades

Mozambican Proverbs

An ox sh*ts more than a hundred mosquitoes
A snake that you can see does not bite
No tattoo is made without blood
Slander by the stream will be heard by the frogs

Namibian Proverbs

Love is a despot who spares no one
Leadership does not depend on age
Earth is the queen of beds
Learning expands great souls
Love is a despot who spares no one

Nigerian Proverbs

Other people’s wisdom prevents the king from being called a fool
Even as the archer loves the arrow that flies, so too he loves the bow that remains constant in his hands
Time destroys all things
Little by little the bird builds its nest
The Rhinoceros never dances with the monkey
A person who has children does not die.
We are what our thinking makes us
If you think you have someone eating out of your hands, it is a good idea to count your fingers
A child who says his parents will know no sleep will also not sleep
A doctor who invoked a storm on his people cannot prevent his house from destruction
When the roots of a tree begin to decay, it spreads death to the branches
Even as the archer loves the arrow that flies, so too he loves the bow that remains constant in his hands
In the moment of crisis, the wise build bridges and the foolish build dams
Other people’s wisdom prevents the king from being called a fool.
The big game often appears when the hunter has given up the hunt for the day
The rhinoceros never dance with the monkey

Nilotic Proverb

Confiding a secret to an unworthy person is like carrying grain in a bag with a hole

Ovambo Proverb

Supposing doesn’t fill the grain basket ‘if’ doesn’t fill the larder.

Samburu Proverb

A deaf ear is followed by death and an ear that listens is followed by blessings.

Senegalese Proverbs

Haste and hurry can only bear children with many regrets along the way
The chameleon changes colour to match the earth, the earth doesn’t change colours to match the chameleon
Haste and hurry can only bear children with many regrets along the way
The strong do not need clubs
There can be no peace without understanding

Sierra Leonean Proverbs

Do not tell the man who is carrying you that he stinks.
If you climb up a tree, you must climb down the same tree.

Somali Proverbs

A brave man dies once, a coward a thousand times
He who does not seize opportunity today will be unable to seize tomorrow’s opportunity
He who dictates separates himself from others
The key to a healthy body is a good head
The child you sired hasn’t sired you
Be a mountain or lean on one
A bridge is repaired only when someone falls into the water

South African Proverbs

A clever king is the brother of peace
Even an ant can hurt an elephant
The jungle is stronger than the elephant
Hope does not disappoint
A crowd can easily overpower a bull

Swahili Proverbs

The laughter of a child lights up the house
Happiness requires something to do, something to love and something to hope for
He who tells the truth is never wrong
To run is not necessarily to arrive

Tanzanian Proverbs

The humble pay for the mistakes of their leaders
A Tutsi liked to warm himself by the fire someone else took the bull
To be without a friend is to be poor indeed

Tiwi Proverb

Ingratitude is sooner or later fatal to its author.

Tswana Proverb

The young bird does not crow until it hears the old ones

Tuareg Proverb

God has created lands with lakes and rivers for man to live. And the desert so that he can find his soul

Ugandan Proverbs

If you overtake a leader, you break your neck
The chameleon looks in all directions before moving
You cannot climb to the mountain top without crushing some weeds with your feet
When the moon is not full, the stars shine more brightly
Water that has been begged for does not quench the thirst
Whoever suggested that rats should become chiefs?
Hornblowers, blow in unison
If a leader loves you, he makes sure you build your house on a rock
The one nearest to the enemy is the real leader
When the powerful sit, they are none the weaker
When you befriend a Chief remember that he sits on a rope
By trying often, the monkey learns to jump from the tree

Xhosa Proverbs

The sun never sets without fresh news
Misfortune of soup made of shanks and feet
One fly does not provide for another

Yoruba Proverbs

If you damage the character of another, you damage your own
When your neighbour’s horse falls into a pit, you should not rejoice at it, for your own child may fall into it too
Anyone who sees beauty and does not look at it will soon be poor
When a king’s palace burns down, the re-built palace is more beautiful.
All lizards lie flat on their stomach and it is difficult to determine which has a stomach ache
Charity begins at home
The person that eat late, will not eat spoiled food
If a big masquerade claims it doesn’t see the smaller masquerade, the small masquerade will also claim it doesn’t see the big masquerade.
No one rides a horse without moving his head, voluntarily or involuntarily.
He who throws a stone in the market will hit his relative
Do not go crazy, do not let the new baby look
The white chicken does not realize its age
The soup does not move round in an elder’s belly
A sculptor is summoned and the woodpecker shows up
Little by little is how the pig’s nose enters the yard
The king’s palace that got burnt added beauty to it
Trim the branches of an iroko tree while it is young, if it matures completely it cannot be bent again.
A man’s head with an evil mind does not curve like cutlass for one to know it.
He who does not have an antidote for a disease called “adoado” should not swallow a cockroach.
If a drum is sounding “kill him, kill him” one should dance to it with caution.
The eye that will be useful to its owner does not start discharging in the morning.
Differences in likes and dislikes make two brothers eat separately
Eating together makes it enjoyable.
The water that one is destined to drink will never flow past one.
If the fruits of a tree grow where it cannot be plucked; it falls where it cannot be picked up
The pointed stick that will pierce one in the eye, is avoided while it is still far off.
He who sends a gift to the market is the one the market sends a gift to.
He who leaves a good legacy behind will be fondly remembered for his generosity
A good beginning is of no value unless one perseveres to the end.
Only the patient can milk a lion.
A dog does not eat the bone, which is hung on its neck
Corn matures in the presence of a lazy man.

Zambian Proverbs

If two wise men always agree, then there is no need for one of them
The more feathers a chicken has, the bigger it looks
The worlds of the elders do not lock all the doors; they leave the right door open
When you show the moon to a child, it sees only your finger

Zimbabwean Proverbs

if you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing
Every woman is beautiful until she speaks
Between true friends even Water drunk together is sweet enough
The Axe forgets what the Tree remembers
A king’s child is a slave elsewhere
If you are ugly you must either learn to dance or make love
A weaning baby that does not cry aloud will die on its mothers back
You can not tell a hungry child that you gave him food yesterday.
Until the Lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter
You have little power over what’s not yours
That which has horns cannot be wrapped
It is the soil that knows that the mouse’s baby is ill
A ripened fruit does not clind to the vine
Two experts never agree
A coward has no scars
If you are ugly you must either learn to dance or make love
Tender to the cowhide while it is still moist
A clever bird builds its nest with other bird’s feathers
In the world of books, the mind-set of the reader is of great importance
Eat what you have found with your relatives, non-relatives are forgetful
Pumpkins grow where there are no cooking pots
The monkey does not see his own hind backside; he sees his neighbor’s
If you use a Donkey to plow, be patient
The forest provides food to the hunter after he is utterly exhausted
Height is not to be hurried
A man that does not lie shall never marry
Things are to be tried, an old lady cooked stones and they produced soup
An Elephant’s tusks are never too heavy for it
Annoy your doctor and sickness comes in laughing
One’s neighbors’ problems do not induce one to lose one’s appetite
God is good, but never dance with a Lion
A borrowed fiddle does not finish a tune
A bull is not known in two herds
A careful hyena lives a long time
A grilled locust is better than no soup
A woman is attractive when she is somebody else’s wife
Blood is the sweat of heroes
Dance in the sun, but turn your back to the clouds
Don’t throw out the old pot until you have the tinker makes a new one
Every elephant has to carry its own trunk around
Everyone carries around his own witches
A gift is the key to the female heart
If God gives you leprosy, look to your own past misdeeds
If words fail no others will avail
If you can envision it, You can accomplish it. If you can imagine it, You can reach the heavens
Passion is of greater consequence than facts
People who do not mend things first will never produce something
Strength is like milk – it is inexhaustible
The old man gives the best advice
Two rats cannot share the same hole
We will be grateful to flowers only if they have born fruits
You must die for your own sacred conviction
Proverbs can be applied to get what you want
Those who eat alone, die alone
The more help in the cornfield the smaller the harvest
To look after the dog of a stranger is to love its owner
To quench thirst is to go to the pool
It’s a marvel to see a leopard playing with a goat
One who is used to something is one who is used to something; the baboon climbed the precipice in the dark
The chick that feeds is the one that is close to its mother
To reject a red one means seeing a white one
For a lizard to bask in the sun is to have a cave in view
Genuine yawns belong to the child; those of an adult betoken food
Little dish go; little dish come back
A small dish goes whence comes another small one
Do not use up sticks on go-away birds while the guineafowl have yet to come
That which has horns is not concealed in a bundle of grass
Do not measure a snake with string while it is present itself
Soup made from tuber roots is one and the same
If there were no ground-peas what would the crows eat?
The stupidity of the foot is to accompany the eye
Squashes fall where there are no pots
Fish go upstream having a channel

Zulu Proverbs

I cannot hear what you say for the Thunder of what you are
Copying everybody else all the time. The Monkey one day cut his throat
Do not speak of a rhinoceros if there is no tree nearby
What has horns must not be hid in a sack
A horse has four legs, yet it often falls
The most beautiful fig may contain a worm
A tree is known by its fruit
The foot has no place of repose
A fine staff is hewn from flora in foreign lands
In the home of the coward, there is no funeral dirge
He that forgives gains victory
Harsh world, this world
One hand washes the other
The lead cow gets whipped the most
He who hates, hates himself
What has horns must not be hidden in a sack
The horse that arrives early gets good drinking water
The groin pains in sympathy with the sore

More African Proverbs

Only a fool tests the depth of a river with both feet
A Flea can trouble a Lion more than a Lion can trouble the Flea
A roaring Lion kills no Game
Do not call the Forest that shelters you a Jungle
No matter how hot your anger is it cannot cook Yams
Ears that do not listen to advice accompany the head that is chopped off
No matter the economy of the Jungle the lion will not eat grass
Rain does not fall on one roof alone
Teeth never see poverty
The Lion and Sheep may lie down together but the Sheep never sleeps
Your previous lies will contradict your future truths
Success in life largely depends on you handle your failures
If you kill time, you will bury opportunities
Wherever a man goes to dwell, his character goes with him
Do not be like a miser who saves for those who will bury him
A Dog which refuses a bone is not alive
The fall of a dry Leaf is a warning to the green ones
A man who uses force is deficient in reasoning
Strategy is better than strength
A Bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song
Anger and madness are brothers
Anger and madness are sisters
An elephant which kills a rat is not a hero
An intelligent enemy is better than a stupid friend
Better little than too little
No matter how beautifully the Chicken dances, it never pleases the Hawk
Where Water is the boss the Land must obey
Two drops of Water does not make a Pool
Do not forget what it is being a Sailor when you become a Captain
Be glad you are unknown for when you are known you would wish you weren’t
The same boiling water that softens the Potato hardens the Egg
He who asks questions cannot avoid the answers
When Spider webs unite they can tie up a Lion
People who have Bread to eat do not appreciate the severity of a Famine
Whether the knife falls on the Melon or the Melon on the knife, the Melon suffers
Rain wets a Leorpards skin, but does not wash out the spots
When trouble knocks on your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own chair
For the sake of the rose, we much water the thorns
It is better to be loved than feared
Where you sit when you are old shows where you stood in your youth
Friendship doubles joy and halves grief
A close friend can become a close enemy
A big Fish is caught with a big bait
The wise man never takes a step too long for his leg
If your Cow gives you Milk never let it suffer thirst
One Camel does not make fun of another Camel’s hump
An Ant on its feet can do more than an Elephant lying down
When an old man dies, a Library burns to the ground
What is in the Yams that a knife does not know about?
You are beautiful but learn to work, for you cannot eat your beauty
The downfall of a man is not the end of his life
A slip of the tongue is worse than a slip of the feet
Leading a race does not mean that you will win it
What the child says, he has heard at home
To circumcise the Leaopard is not the thing; the thing is who will hold him down?
To get lost is to learn the way
No matter how small and crowded the house, there is always room for the people you love
When two Elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers
When deeds speak, words are nothing
Loose teeth are better than no teeth
When you see a rat running into fire know that what it is running away from is hotter than Fire!
A speaker of truth has no friends
You can outrun what is running after you, but not what is running inside you
The gratitude of a Donkey is a kick
The Frog does not run in the daytime for nothing. Its either chasing something or something is chasing it
Being happy is better than being King
If you are on the road to nowhere, take the next exit
It takes w whole village to raise a child
Do not mistake a short man for a boy. A sort man is not a boy
You are not great just because you say you are
if you want to improve your memory, lend someone money
A Tiger does not proclaim its gratitude
He who wakes up and finds himself a success has not been asleep
If the owner of a Calabash calls it worthless Calabash, others will join him to use it to pack rubbish
When a child receives a haircut, the shape of his head becomes obvious
Teaching a Monkey to eat with a knige and fork will never make it a man
Dogs don’t actually prefer bones to meat. It’s just that no one gives them meat
Only your real friends will tell you when your face is dirty
A friend who frowns is betten than an enemy who smiles
If you had to teach a Fish to swim, it was never a Fish
Work is good, as long you don’t forget to live
One who loves you loves you with your dirt
No matter how tall a man may be, he can never see tomorrow
I am because you are
Even the mightiest Eagle comes down to the tree tops to rest
The cheapest way to improve your looks is to wear a smile
Give me a push from my back does not mean give me a hunchback!
It is better to travel alone than with a bad companion
The one being carried does not realize how far away the Town is
Words are like Bullets; when you release them, you can’t call them back
A man shows his character by what he laughs at
A thief does not admire your bag for nothing
If you give bad food to your stomach, it will drum for you to dance
You do not punish a Fish by throwing it into Water
Do not blame God for having created the Tiger, but thank Him for not giving it wings
Do not blame God for having creates the Snake, but thank Him for taking its wings away
A strong disease needs a strong medicine
If you don’t sleep because you don’t want to die, you will die becayse you don’t sleep
A child can be taller than his father but can never be older than his father
It is easier to fall in Love than to stay in Love
Just because the Lizard nods its head does not mean it is in agreement
If a Snake bites your neighbour you too are in danger
It is not the same day a leaf falls that it rots
Familiarity breeds contempt; distance brings respect
A wrong step by a Leader is a warning to the Followers
Don’t be so much in Love than you can’t tell when it’s raining
One lie spoils a thousand truths
No matter how blunt a knife may be, it should never be given to a fool
The skin of the Leopard is beautiful, but not his heart
The fact that your child got drowned in Water does not mean you should not drink Water again
If you spit into the sky, it falls into your face
By persevering the Egg walks on legs
The Sun shines on those who stand, before it shines on those kneel under them
One who Loves you warns you
The Owl is the wisest of all birds because the more it sees, the less it talks
Unity is the strength, division is weakness
When Vultures surround you, try not to die
A large chair does not make a King
The poorest man in this world is not the one without money but the one without people
You do not need light at night to see someone you know intimately during the day
If you escaped from the Lion’s Den why go back for your hat?
Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped
Judge not your beauty by the number of people who look at you, but rather, by the number of people who smile at you
If things are getting easier, maybe you are heading downhill
A chattering Bird builds no Nest
However kind a man is, he would never give his Wife as a gift to his friends
Where there is Love, there is no darkness
Little by little a little becomes a lot
Wealth, if you use it, decreases, Knowledge, if you use it increases
If you think you are too small to make a difference, you have not spent the night with a Mosquito
There is no Rainbow without rain
Not to know is bad, not to desire to know is worse
If there is character, ugliness becomes beauty; if there is none, beauty becomes ugliness
No matter how long a log stays in water, it will never become a Crocodile
The Sun does not forget a Village just because it is small
If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything
Sometimes going back is the way to move forward
Every closed eye is not sleeping; and every open eye is not seeing
No matter how good a Housewife may be she cannot cook without Ingredients
It is the one who lives in the house who knows where the roof leaks
You always know whom you Love, but you won’t always know who Loves you
A single Tree does not make a Forest
He who sells Sand as brown Sugar will receive Stones as payment
He who finds a Mosquito perching on his testicle, will understand that there are better ways of resolving a problem other than using violence
He who wants to fly like a Bat, must learn to see in the dark
If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside cannot harm us
The teeth are smilling, but what of the heart?
To try and fail is not laziness
A wise man fills his brain before emptying his mouth
The Bird will not fly into your arrow
The child who is not embraced by the Village will burn it down to feel its warmth
If you and a Fool have an argument, he succeeds
People who drink to drown their sorrows, should be told that sorrow knows how to swim
He who sh*its on the road will meet flies on his return
The Man may be the head of the home but his Wife is the heart of the home
If your mouth turns into a knife, it will cut off your lips
You always learn a lot more when you lose than when you win
Love truth even if it hurts you, and hate lies even if they help you
No matter how many times you wash a Goat, it will still smell like a Goat
A Pearl is only a Pearl once it’s out of its shell
Don’t drown the man who taught you to swim
If you close your eyes to facts, you will learn through accidents
Choose your neighbours before you buy your house
No matter how old a man is he still ramins a child to his Parents
Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable
We should talk while we are still alive
Don’t set sail using someone else’s star
A wise man never knows all, only fools know everything
Kindness to all, friendship to a few
Truth is the first victim of war
The teeth that laugh are also those that bite
The one who visits you is better than the one who sends you greetings
Ninety-nine lies may help you, but the hundreth lie will give you away
No matter how tall a Tree might grow it will always shed its leaves on the ground
No man can paddle two canoes at the same time
An untouched drum does not speak
God gives nothing to those who keep their arms crossed
A pretty face and fine clothes do not make character
Believe the liar up to the door of his House and no further than that
He who gets lost in the Forest takes it out on he who leads him back on the right road
If one has not struck one’s head against something, one does not learn how to stoop
Elephants carry each other
To kill a Lion is to be ready for war
A single stick may smoke, but it will not burn
Patience attracts happiness; it brings near that which is far
If I am in harmony with my family that’s success
Patience puts a crown on the head
A man with wisdom is better off than a stupid man with any amount of charm and superstition
If you refuse the advice of an elder, you will walk until sunset
One who enters the Forest does not listen to the breaking of the twigs in the bush
When making a Fire people like to join you, when cleaning the ashes you are often alone
You do not teach a Giraffe to run
No man can outwit the Ancestors
Rising early makes the road short
The African race is a Rubber ball. The harder you dash it to the ground, the higher it will rise
Eat when the food is ready; speak when the time is right
If you are filled with Pride, then you will have no room for Wisdom
You do not teach the paths of the forest to an old Gorilla
There is always a winner even in a Monkey’s beauty contest
He who will hold another down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down
All truth is good, but not all truth is good to say
If we stand tall it is because we stand on the backs of those who came before us
It’s not what you call me but what I answer to
He who refuses to obey cannot command
No motter how long the night, the day is sure to come
A woman’s polite devotion is her greatest beauty
A Fool looks for dung where the cow never browsed
Sugarcane is sweetest at its joint
Grass does not grow faster if you pull on it
A big game hunter does not stop to throw stones at Birds
A fool and water will go the way they are diverted.
Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot
When you shoot a Zebra in the black stripe the white stripe dies too
A child is what you put into them
Hold a true friend with both hands
Children are the reward of life
Life is full of questions. Idiots are full of answers.
To one who does not know, a small Garden is a Forest
Ashes fly back into the face of him who throws them
A lie has many variations, the truth none
Sleep is the cousin of Death
Quarrels end, but words once spoken never die
Only a fool’s sheep breaks loose twice
A cat goes to the monastery, but still remains a cat
When the Axe entered the Forest the Trees said “Look the handle is one of us, we have no reason to fear!”
Filthy Water cannot be washed
A child’s face is his mirror
Smooth Seas do not make skillful Sailors
Never marry a woman with big feet
Reading books removes sorrow from the heart
Never bolt your door with a boiled Carrot
A thing of beauty is never perfect
Travelling is learning
Do not follow a person who is running away
A hunter with only one Arrow does not shoot carelessly
When will the Goat be strong enough to kill a Leopard?
A Tiger does not need to boast that it is a Tiger
The path to your heart’s desire is never over-grown
When the cock crows the idle person grumbles
A boat doesn’t go forward if each one is rowing his own way
A distant fire does not burn
A letter from the heart can be read on the face
There are three things that if a man does not know he cannot live long in this world What is too much for him, What is too little for him and What is just right for him
A fly does not mind dying in Coconut cream
There are two gifts we should give our children: one is roots, and the other is wings
A beautiful woman is not without defects
Wisdom is like a baobab Tree; no one individual can embrace it
If you want to go fast, go alone, if you to go far, go together
A man does not run among thorns for no reason; either he is chasing a Snake or a Snake is chasing him
Every morning in Africa a Gazelle wakes up. Every morning a Lion wakes up. It doesn’t matter whether you are a Lion or a Gazelle when the Sun comes up, you had better be running
Poverty is Slavery
Talking with another is loving one another
Wisdom is Wealth
Those who accomplish great things pay attention to the little things
A man who pays respect to the great paves the way for his own greatness
A cutting word is worse than a bowstring, a cut may heal, but the cut of the tongue does not
A piece of Iron can only become what the Blacksmith says it can become
Indecision is like a Stepchild: if he does not wash his hands, he is called dirty, if he does, he is wasting Water
At the bottom of patience one finds heaven
If you think Education is expensive try ignorance
A chick that will grow into a Cock can be spotted the very day it hatches
A child’s fingers are not scalded by a piece of hot Yam which his mother puts into his palm
Abundance does not spread; famine does
A Blacksmith has no need of an Axe
A bowl should not laugh when a Calabash breaks
A man will never heed the voice of a woman until it is too late
A Fool may chance to put something into a wise man’s head
He who forgives ends the argument
By crawling, a child learns to stand
A Camel never sees its own hump
A guest who breaks the dishes of his host is not soon forgotten
A man who cries all the time is not heard
Almost is not eaten
A Beggar won’t mind being insulted
A fool is a wise man’s ladder
Even a Dog never forgets his Master
A Barber does not shave himself
A wise man who knows Proverbs can reconcile all difficulties
Kindness is a language which the Blind can see and the Deaf can hear
A Dog does not mind being called a Dog
A Comb becomes bad when it hurts you
One falsehood spoils a thousand truths
For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today
Listen or your tongue will keep you deaf
The Lion does not turn around when a small dog barks
No one shows a child the Sky
The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is Now!
The Proverb is the Horse of words. When the truth is missing we use a proverb to find it
Ask for a Camel when you expect to get a Goat
The stick of truth may be overstretched but truth will eventually prevail
Those who want rain must also accept the mud
Don’t set out on a journey using someone else’s donkey
If a tree does not know how to dance, the wind will teach it
Do not beat a drum with an axe
Beware of the naked man who offers you clothes
Don’t be in a hurry to swallow when chewing is pleasant
Do not expect to be offered a chair when you are visiting a place where the chief sits on the floor
The day the monkey is destined to die all the trees get slippery
If money were to be found up in the trees, most people would be married to monkeys
Even if the cock does not crow, the sun will rise
A person who sells eggs should not start a fight in the market
Once water has been spilled, it cannot be scooped back up
The eyes do not carry the load but they know what the head can carry
The frowning of a goat does not prevent it from being priced in the market
Two rams cannot drink from the same bucket at the same time
The lizard had the tree in mind before challenging the dog to a fight
One cannot stop sleeping because of a fear of bad dreams
If a snake does not act like a snake, little children will use it to tie firewood
Take good care of your neck; neck ornaments are not difficult to find
It is survival, not bravery that makes a man climb a thorny tree
The hands that make mistakes belong to those who work
When you carry maize, fowl become your friends
If you are bitten by a snake you fear seeing a rope at night
If you make friends with the boatman in the dry season, you will be the first to cross when the rains come and the tide is high
Once the millet has sprouted, it is not afraid of the weather
If the one who stabbed forgets, the one who got stabbed never forgets
In a caravan, it is the first camel who delays the rest; however the last one gets all the beatings
No matter how good you are to a goat it will still eat your yam
Those with tattered skirts should avoid dancing too close to the fire
Good music goes with good food
Rising early makes the road short
He who doesn’t clean his mouth before breakfast always complains that the food is sour
Even the best dancer on the stage must retire sometime
If you are building a house and a nail breaks, do you stop building, or do you change the nail?
Family names are like flowers, they blossom in clusters
No matter how big a child is, he cannot deny that he was once carried on the back of a woman
He who loves the vase loves also what is inside
Live patiently in the world know that those who hate you are more numerous than those who love you
Discord between the powerful is a fortune for the poor
No person is born great great people become great when others are sleeping
The antics of a market buffoon provide laughter, but nobody prays that his child becomes the market buffoon
A rooster is not expected to crow for the whole world
If while climbing a tree you insist on going beyond the top, the earth will be waiting for you
All errors are amendable
It is difficult for two long-nosed lovers to kiss
When a king reigns, it is thanks to the people when a river sings, it is thanks to the stones
Every fame has a foundation
To neglect one’s ancestors would bring ill-fortune and failure in life
Fear no forest because it is dense
No matter how beautiful and well crafted a coffin might look, it will not make anyone wish for death
Gold should be sold to the one who knows the value of it
Pretend you are dead and you will see who really loves you
A woman is never old when it comes to the dance she knows
A child who does not know a Medicine calls it Vegetables
No matter how black a cow is it will always produce a white milk
When two people are responsible for feeding a horse, it will either get fat or it will starve
He that beats the drum for the mad man to dance is no better than the mad manhimself
A spider’s cobweb isn’t only its sleeping spring but also its food trap
He who runs after good fortune runs away from peace
Even the best cooking pot will not produce food
You cannot name a child that is not born
It is crooked wood that shows the best sculptor
One who bathes willingly with cold water doesn’t feel the cold
He who burns down his house knows why ashes cost a fortune
The strength of the crocodile is in the water
Knowledge is like a Lion; it cannot be gently embraced
Little pots have ears
The quail waits for the stick
The heart is like a goat that has to be tied up
The fool who owns an ox is seldom recognized as a fool
If you are looking for a fly in your food it means that you are full
The impatient person eats goat, the one who hesitates eats beef
Where there is honey, there are bound to be ant
When a bird builds its nest it uses the feathers of other birds
No one drinks medicine on behalf of a sick person
You are looking for sausage in the dog’s house – whatever you are looking for is going to be very hard to find
Two wives, two pots of poison
The end of an Ox is beef, and the end of a lie is grief
Character is like pregnancy it cannot be hidden forever
As you do for your ancestors, your children will do for you
Old age does not announce itself in a loud voice
When a man is stung by a Bee he does not destroy all Beehives
Because we focused on the Snake we missed the Scorpion
Give advice; if people don’t listen let adversity teach them
When brothers fight to death, a stranger inherits their property
If you are not going to bite do not show your teeth
The Youth can walk faster but the Elder knows the road
There is no King who is not gossiped about
Once you carry your own water you will learn the value of every drop
Blind belief is dangerous
Beyond a mountain is another mouintain
Virtue is better than wealth
A single finger cannot catch fleas
A patient man will eat ripe fruit
Don’t think there are no crocodiles just because the water is calm
Beat the dog; wait for its master
Sleep has no master
Just because he harmed your goat, do not go out and kill his bull
He who thinks he is leading and has no one following him is only taking a walk
Those who have not crossed the river yet should not laugh at those who are drowning
Only the knife knows the heart of the Pineapple
Never let a Hyena know how well you can bite
However long the night, the dawn will break
Cross the river in a crowd and the crocodile won’t eat you.
He who is destined for power does not have to fight for it
It is not work that kills, but worry
Nobody is born wise
“The wise create proverbs for fools to learn,
not to repeat”
There is no beauty but the beauty of action
When a needle falls into a deep well, many people will look into the well, but few will be ready to go down after it
A woman is never old when it comes to the dance she knows.
Family names are like flowers, they blossom in clusters.
Milk and honey have different colors, but they share the same house peacefully.
Sorrow is like rice in an attic: you us a little every day and at the end it is all gone
Doing one’s best drives away regret
Other people’s children cause your nostrils to flare
Do not scare the Birds you are going to shoot
An Egg does not fight a rock
A patient that can swallow food makes the nurse doubtful
Nothing is so difficult that diligence cannot master it
Good words are food, bad words are poison
One does not like hot, ther other does not like it cold, make it tepid to make an agreement
However little food we have, we’ll share it even if its only one locust
You can catch a cricket in your hand but its song is all over the field
When you change Kings you change customs
Don’t take another mouthful before you have swallowed what is in your mouth
Iron does not clang by itself
The lazy man who goes to borrow a spade says, “I hpe I will not find one”
Sadness is a valuable treasure – only discovered in people you love
Love is just like rice – plant it elsewhere and it grows
By getting angry, you show you are wrong
Do not kick away the canoe which helped you to cross the river
Many hands make light work
If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together
A child who does not listen to an elder’s advice gets his or her leg broken
How easy it is to defeat people who do not kindle fire for themselves
The humble pay for the mistakes of their leaders
The voyager’s path is marked by the stars and not the sand dunes
Do not make the dress before the child is born
He who does not cultivate his field will die of hunger
A house cannot be repaired when the owner is destroying it
It is better to refuse than to accept and not go
Because he lost his reputation he lost his Kingdom
Threats and insults never rule a country
There are many colourful flowers on the path of life, but the prettiest have the sharpest thorns
A community without elders does not prosper
A wise person will always find a way
You do not need painkillers for another man’s headache
What an old man will see while seated a small child cannot see even standing on top of a mountain
The heart of the wise man lies quiet like limpid water
The wind does not break a tree that bends
Always being in a hurry does not prevent death, neither does going slowly prevent living
No matter how long the Winter, Spring is sure to follow
Happiness is like a field you can harvst every season
Love has to be shown by deeds not words
Hope is the pillar of the world
Where there are experts there will be no lack of learners
When the labourer is praised his cutlass begins to cut more keenly
Life is a shadow and a mist, it passes quickly by and is no more
After a foolish deed comes remorse
Mother is God number two
When one is in trouble, one remembers their God
Knowledge is like a garden: if it is not cultivated it cannot be harvested
Let your love be like the misty rain coming softly but flooding the river
By labour comes wealth
Where there is Love there is no darkness
He who dictates separates himself from others
Rats don’t dance in the Cat’s doorway
Whether a Chief is good or bad, people unify around someone
When the Master of the house lacks wisdom the Doctor’s work is useless
What is in the stomach carries what is in the head
If relatives help each other, what evil can hurt them
Words are like Eggs: when they are hatched they have wings
When God cooks you don’t see smoke
Much wealth brings many enemies
If you fear something you give it power over you
The day a man tastes the sweetness of a woman that day he also tastes the bitterness
To run is not necessarily to arrive
Home affairs are not talked about on the public square
When there is peace in the country, the chief does not carry a shield
I have come a long way; the journey has exhausted me
Money can’t talk, yet it can make lies look true
A patient person never misses a thing
Patience is the mother of a beautiful child
If the palm of the hand itches it signifies the coming of great luck
Having a good discussion is like having riches
When the moon is not full the stars shine more brightly
Arrogance burned the Chief’s compound
A good deed is something one returns
Where two rivers meet the waters are never calm