AFRIKIN PROVERBS

Love and Marriage

 
  • Wisdom is wealth. ~ Swahili
  • Wisdom is like a baobab tree; no one individual can embrace it. ~ Akan proverb
  • The fool speaks, the wise man listens. ~ Ethiopian proverb
  • Wisdom does not come overnight. ~ Somali proverb
  • The heart of the wise man lies quiet like limpid water. ~ Cameroon proverb
  • Wisdom is like fire. People take it from others. ~ Hema (DRC) proverb
  • Only a wise person can solve a difficult problem. ~ Akan proverb
  • Knowledge without wisdom is like water in the sand. ~ Guinean proverb
  • In the moment of crisis, the wise build bridges and the foolish build dams. ~ Nigerian proverb
  • If you are filled with pride, then you will have no room for wisdom. ~ African proverb
  • A wise person will always find a way. ~ Tanzanian proverb
  • Nobody is born wise. ~ African proverb 
  • A man who uses force is afraid of reasoning. ~ Kenyan proverb
  • Wisdom is not like money to be tied up and hidden. ~ Akan proverb

Patience

 
  • Patience is the key which solves all problems. ~ Sudanese proverb
  • Hurry, hurry has no blessings. ~ Swahili proverb
  • Patience is the mother of a beautiful child. ~ Bantu proverb
  • To run is not necessarily to arrive. ~ Swahili proverb
  • Patience can cook a stone. ~ African proverb
  • A patient man will eat ripe fruit. ~ African proverb
  • At the bottom of patience one finds heaven. ~ African proverb
  • A patient person never misses a thing. ~ Swahili proverb
  • Patience puts a crown on the head. ~ Ugandan proverb
  • Patience attracts happiness; it brings near that which is far. ~ Swahili proverb
  • Always being in a hurry does not prevent death, neither does going slowly prevent living. ~ Ibo proverb
  • However long the night, the dawn will break. ~ African proverb (personal favourite!)

Learning

 
  • Learning expands great souls. ~ Namibian proverb
  • To get lost is to learn the way. ~ African proverb
  • By crawling a child learns to stand. ~ African proverb
  • If you close your eyes to facts, you will learn through accidents. ~ African proverb
  • He who learns, teaches. ~ Ethiopian proverb
  • Wealth, if you use it, comes to an end; learning, if you use it, increases. ~ Swahili proverb
  • By trying often, the monkey learns to jump from the tree. ~ Buganda proverb
  • You always learn a lot more when you lose than when you win. ~ African proverb
  • You learn how to cut down trees by cutting them down. ~ Bateke proverb
  • The wise create proverbs for fools to learn, not to repeat. ~ African proverb
  • What you help a child to love can be more important than what you help him to learn. ~ African proverb
  • By the time the fool has learned the game, the players have dispersed. ~ Ashanti proverb
  • One who causes others misfortune also teaches them wisdom. ~ African proverb
  • You do not teach the paths of the forest to an old gorilla. ~ Congolese proverb
  • What you learn is what you die with. ~ African proverb
  • Instruction in youth is like engraving in stone. ~ Moroccan Proverb
  • When you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him. ~ Ashanti Proverb
  • Ears that do not listen to advice, accompany the head when it is chopped off. ~ African Proverb
  • Advice is a stranger; if he’s welcome he stays for the night; if not, he leaves the same day. ~ Malagasy Proverb
  • Traveling is learning. ~ Kenyan Proverb
  • Where there are experts there will be no lack of learners. ~ Swahili Proverb

Peace and Leadership

 
  • Peace is costly but it is worth the expense. ~Kenyan proverb
  • War has no eyes ~ Swahili saying
  • When a king has good counselors, his reign is peaceful. ~ Ashanti proverb
  • Peace does not make a good ruler. ~Botswana proverb
  • A fight between grasshoppers is a joy to the crow. ~ Lesotho proverb
  • There can be no peace without understanding. ~ Senegalese proverb
  • Milk and honey have different colors, but they share the same house peacefully. ~ African proverb
  • If you can’t resolve your problems in peace, you can’t solve war. ~ Somalian proverb
  • When there is peace in the country, the chief does not carry a shield. ~ Ugandan proverb
  • When two elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled.  ~ Swahili saying
  • Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far. ~ West African proverb
  • He who thinks he is leading and has no one following him is only taking a walk. ~ Malawian proverb
  • An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep. ~ Ghanaian proverb
  • He who is destined for power does not have to fight for it. ~ Ugandan proverb
  • Do not forget what is to be a sailor because of being a captain yourself. ~ Tanzanian proverb
  • Without a leader, black ants are confused. ~ Ugandan proverb
  • He who refuses to obey cannot command. ~ Kenyan proverb
  • He who fears the sun will not become chief. ~ Ugandan proverb
  • A large chair does not make a king. ~ Sudanese proverb
  • Because he lost his reputation, he lost a kingdom. ~ Ethiopian proverb
  • Where a woman rules, streams run uphill. ~ Ethiopian proverb
  • A leader who does not take advice is not a leader. ~ Kenyan proverb
  • If the cockroach wants to rule over the chicken, then it must hire the fox as a body-guard. ~ Sierra Leone proverb

Unity and Community

 
  • Unity is strength, division is weakness. ~ Swahili proverb
  • Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable. ~ Bondei proverb
  • It takes a village to raise a child. ~ African proverb
  • Cross the river in a crowd and the crocodile won’t eat you. ~ African proverb
  • Many hands make light work. ~ Haya (Tanzania) proverb
  • Where there are many, nothing goes wrong. ~ Swahili proverb
  • Two ants do not fail to pull one grasshopper. ~ Tanzanian proverb
  • A single bracelet does not jingle. ~ Congolese proverb
  • A single stick may smoke, but it will not burn. ~ African proverb
  • If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. ~ African proverb

Family

 
  • A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its place. ~ African Proverb
  • A united family eats from the same plate. ~ Baganda proverb
  • A family tie is like a tree, it can bend but it cannot break. ~ African proverb
  • If I am in harmony with my family, that’s success. ~ Ute proverb
  • Brothers love each other when they are equally rich. ~ African proverb
  • Dine with a stranger but save your love for your family. ~ Ethiopian proverb
  • There is no fool who is disowned by his family. ~ African proverb
  • Home affairs are not talked about on the public square. ~ African proverb
  • If relatives help each other, what evil can hurt them? ~ African proverb
  • He who earns calamity, eats it with his family. ~ African proverb
  • Dine with a stranger but save your love for your family. ~ Ethiopian proverb
  • 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. ~ Akan (Ghana, Ivory Coast) proverb
  • When brothers fight to the death, a stranger inherits their father’s estate. ~ Ibo proverb
  • Children are the reward of life. ~ African proverb

Friendship

 
  • To be without a friend is to be poor indeed.  ~ Tanzanian proverb
  • Hold a true friend with both hands. ~ African proverb
  • The friends of our friends are our friends.  ~ Congolese proverb
  • A friend is someone you share the path with. ~ African proverb
  • Show me your friend and I will show you your character. ~ African proverb
  • Return to old watering holes for more than water; friends and dreams are there to meet you. ~ African proverb
  • Between true friends even water drunk together is sweet enough. ~ African proverb
  • A small house will hold a hundred friends. ~ African proverb
  • A close friend can become a close enemy.~ African proverb
  • Bad friends will prevent you from having good friends. ~ Gabon proverb

Money, Wealth, Riches and Poverty

 
  • Make some money but don’t let money make you. ~ Tanzania
  • It is no shame at all to work for money. ~ Africa
  • He who loves money must labor. ~ Mauritania
  • By labor comes wealth. ~ Yoruba
  • Poverty is slavery. ~Somalia
  • One cannot both feast and become rich. ~ Ashanti
  • One cannot count on riches. ~ Somalia
  • Money is sharper than the sword.  Ashanti
  • A man’s wealth may be superior to him. ~ Cameroon
  • The rich are always complaining. ~ Zulu
  • The wealth which enslaves the owner isn’t wealth. ~ Yoruba
  • The poor man and the rich man do not play together. ~ Ashanti
  • Lack of money is lack of friends; if you have money at your disposal, every dog and goat will claim to be related to you. ~ Yoruba
  • With wealth one wins a woman. ~ Uganda
  • Dogs do not actually prefer bones to meat; it is just that no one ever gives them meat. ~ Akan
  • A real family eats the same cornmeal. ~ Bayombe
  • If your cornfield is far from your house, the birds will eat your corn. ~ Congo
  • Money can’t talk, yet it can make lies look true. ~ South Africa
  • One cannot count on riches. ~ Somalia
  • Money is not the medicine against death. ~ Ghana
  • He who receives a gift does not measure. ~ Africa
  • Much wealth brings many enemies. ~ Swahili
  • There is no one who became rich because he broke a holiday, no one became fat because he broke a fast. ~ Ethiopia
  • What you give you get, ten times over. ~ Yoruba
  • Greed loses what it has gained. ~ Africa
  • You become wise when you begin to run out of money. ~ Ghana
  • If ten cents does not go out, it does not bring in one thousand dollars. ~ Ghana
  • You should not hoard your money and die of hunger. ~ Ghana
  • Wealth diminishes with usage; learning increases with use. ~ Nigeria
  • Wisdom is not like money to be tied up and hidden. ~ Akan
  • Having a good discussion is like having riches ~ Kenya
  • Knowledge is better than riches. ~ Cameroon
  • You must act as if it is impossible to fail. ~ Ashanti
  • Do not let what you cannot do tear from your hands what you can. ~ Ashanti

Beauty

 
  • One who plants grapes by the road side, and one who marries a pretty woman, share the same problem. ~Ethiopian Proverb
  • Beautiful from behind, ugly in front. ~ Uganda Proverb
  • The skin of the leopard is beautiful, but not his heart. ~ Baluba proverb
  • Ugliness with a good character is better than beauty. ~ Nigerian Proverb
  • A beautiful one hurts the heart. ~ African Proverb
  • Anyone who sees beauty and does not look at it will soon be poor. ~ Yoruba Proverb
  • The surface of the water is beautiful, but it is no good to sleep on. ~ Ghanaian Proverb
  • If there is character, ugliness becomes beauty; if there is none, beauty becomes ugliness. ~ Nigerian Proverb
  • You are beautiful, but learn to work, for you cannot eat your beauty. ~ Congolese Proverb
  • The one who loves an unsightly person is the one who makes him beautiful. ~ Ganda Proverb
  • Having beauty doesn’t mean understanding the perseverance of marriage. ~ African Proverb
  • You are beautiful because of your possessions. ~ Baguirmi Proverb
  • Every woman is beautiful until she speaks. ~ Zimbabwean Proverb
  • Three things cause sorrow to flee; water, green trees, and a beautiful face. ~ Moroccan Proverb
  • A beautiful thing is never perfect. ~ Egyptian Proverb
  • Patience is the mother of a beautiful child. ~ Bantu Proverb
  • There is no beauty but the beauty of action. ~ Moroccan Proverb
  • Judge not your beauty by the number of people who look at you, but rather by the number of people who smile at you. ~ African Proverb
  • A pretty face and fine clothes do not make character. ~ Congolese Proverb
  • Youth is beauty, even in cattle. ~ Egyptian Proverb
  • A pretty basket does not prevent worries. ~ Congolese Proverb
  • It’s those ugly caterpillars that turn into beautiful butterflies after seasons. ~ African Proverb
  • The most beautiful fig may contain a worm. ~ Zulu Proverb
  • It is only a stupid cow that rejoices at the prospect of being taken to a beautiful abattoir. ~ African Proverb
  • A woman who pursues a man for sex loses her spiritual beauty. ~ African Proverb
  • A chicken with beautiful plumage does not sit in a corner. ~ African Proverb
  • The cook does not have to be a beautiful woman. ~ Shona Proverb
  • Beautiful words don’t put porridge in the pot. ~ Botswana Proverb
  • She is beautiful; she has love, understands; she respects herself and others; everyone likes, loves and honors her; she is a goddess. ~ African Proverb
  • There is always a winner even in a monkey’s beauty contest. ~ African Proverb
  • Dress up a stick and it’ll be a beautiful bride. ~ Egyptian Proverb
  • An ugly child of your own is more to you than a beautiful one belonging to your neighbor. ~ Ganda Proverb
  • Even the colors of a chameleon are for survival not beauty. ~ African Proverb
  • Beautiful discourse is rarer than emerald ~ yet it can be found among the servant girls at the grindstones. ~ Egyptian Proverb
  • When a once-beautiful piece of cloth has turned into rags, no one remembers that it was woven by Ukwa master weavers. ~ Igbo Proverb
  • A woman’s polite devotion is her greatest beauty. ~ African Proverb
  • There are many colorful flowers on the path of life, but the prettiest have the sharpest thorns. ~ African Proverb
  • He who marries a beauty marries trouble. ~ Nigerian Proverb
  • Despite the beauty of the moon, sun and the stars, the sky also has a threatening thunder and striking lightening. ~ African Proverb
  • Getting only a beautiful woman is like planting a vine on the roadside everyone feeds on it. ~ African Proverb
  • Greatness and beauty do not belong to the gods alone. ~ Nigerian Proverb
  • Roosters’ tail feathers: pretty but always behind. ~ Malagasy Proverb
  • Beauty is not sold and eaten. ~Nigerian Proverb
  • She is like a road pretty, but crooked. ~ Cameroonian Proverb
  • Why they like an ugly person takes long for a beautiful person to know. ~ African Proverb
  • If you find Miss This Year beautiful, then you ‘ll find Miss Next Year even more so. ~ Nigerian Proverb
  • The beauty of a woman becomes useless if there is no one to admire it. ~ African Proverb

Food

 
  • As porridge benefits those who heat and eat it, so does a child benefit those that rear it. ~ Amharic Proverb
  • The forest not only hides man’s enemies but its full of man’s medicine, healing power and food. ~ African Proverb
  • One person is a thin porridge; two or three people are a lump of ugali. ~ Kuria Proverb
  • The man who counts the bits of food he swallows is never satisfied. ~ African Proverb
  • Wine, women and food give gladness to the heart. ~Ancient Egyptian Proverb
  • The food that is in the mouth is not yet in the belly. ~ Kikuyu Proverb
  • You cannot work for food when there is no food for work. ~ African Proverb
  • The chicken that digs for food will not sleep hungry. ~ Bayombe Proverb
  • He who eats another mans food will have his own food eaten by others. ~ Swahili Proverb
  • Food gained by fraud tastes sweet to a man, but he ends up with gravel in his mouth. ~ African Proverb
  • No partridge scratches the ground in search of food for another. ~ Xhosa Proverb
  • The grasshopper which is always near its mother eats the best food. ~ Ghanaian Proverb
  • Don’t take another mouthful before you have swallowed what is in your mouth. ~ Malagasy Proverb
  • Rich people sometimes eat bad food. ~ Kikuyu Proverb
  • The impotent man does not eat spicy foods. ~ Congolese Proverb
  • You should know what’s being cooked in the kitchen otherwise you might eat a forbidden food. ~ African Proverb
  • When the leg does not walk, the stomach does not eat. ~ Mongo (Congolese) Proverb
  • A healthy person who begs for food is an insult to a generous farmer. ~ Ghanaian Proverb
  • One spoon of soup in need has more value than a pot of soup when we have an abundance of food. ~ Angolan Proverb
  • Cooked food is not sold for goats. ~Kikuyu Proverb
  • The mouth is stupid after eating it forgets who gave it the food. ~ African Proverb
  • A dog knows the places he is thrown food. ~ Acholi Proverb
  • One who eats alone cannot discuss the taste of the food with others. ~ African Proverb
  • Words are sweet, but they never take the place of food. ~ Ibo Proverb
  • The man who has bread to eat does not appreciate the severity of a famine. ~ Yoruba Proverb
  • He who doesn’t clean his mouth before breakfast always complains that the food is sour. ~ African Proverb
  • The hyena with a cub does not consume all the available food. ~ Akamba Proverb
  • When the food is cooked there is no need to wait before eating it. ~ Kikuyu Proverb
  • What one won’t eat by itself, one will eat when mixed with other food. ~ Bantu & Lamba Proverb
  • Man is like a pepper, till you have chewed it you do not know how hot it is. ~ Haussa Proverb
  • No one gets a mouthful of food by picking between another person’s teeth. ~ Igbo Proverb
  • It is not the cook’s fault when the cassava turns out to be hard and tasteless. ~ Ewe Proverb
  • A housewife who complains that there is not enough foodstuff in the market should remember that if her husband adds to what is already available, there would be more for everyone. ~ Nigerian Proverb
  • A spider’s cobweb isn’t only its sleeping spring but also its food trap. ~ African Proverb
  • If you watch your pot, your food will not burn. ~ Mauritanian, Nigerian, and Niger Proverb
  • Those who are at one regarding food are at one in life. ~ Malawian Proverb
  • Fine words do not produce food. ~ Nigerian Proverb
  • Even the best cooking pot will not produce food. ~ African Proverb
  • If I could see your face, I would not need food. ~ Amharic Proverb
  • If you find no fish, you have to eat bread. ~ Ghanaian Proverb
  • War is not porridge. ~ Gikuyu Proverb
  • The best of mankind is a farmer; the best food is fruit. ~ Ethiopian Proverb
  • Slowly, slowly, porridge goes into the gourd. ~ Kuria People of Kenyan & Tanzania
  • One shares food not words. ~ Somali Proverb
  • If you are looking for a fly in your food it means that you are full. ~ South African Proverb
  • Nature gave us two cheeks instead of one to make it easier to eat hot food. ~ Ghanaian Proverb
  • A patient that can swallow food makes the nurse doubtful. ~ Malagasy Proverb
  • If you give bad food to your stomach, it drums for you to dance. ~ African Proverb
  • A bad cook also has his/her share of the bad food. ~ African Proverb
  • The forest provides food to the hunter after he is utterly exhausted. ~ Zimbabwean Proverb
  • Things are to be tried, an old lady cooked stones and they produced soup. ~ Zimbabwean Proverb
  • You cannot tell a hungry child that you gave him food yesterday. ~ Zimbabwean Proverb
  • Good music goes with good food. ~ African Proverb
  • Rich people cook their food in a potsherd. ~ Kikuyu Proverb
  • However little food we have, we’ll share it even if it’s only one locust. ~ Malagasy Proverb
  • Water is colourless and tasteless but you can live on it longer than eating food. ~ African Proverb
  • Eat when the food is ready; speak when the time is right. ~ Ethiopian Proverb
  • The food eaten first lasts longest in the stomach. ~ Kikuyu Proverb
  • When your luck deserts you, even cold food burns. ~ Zambian Proverb
  • Happiness is as good as food. ~ Maasai Proverb
  • Good words are food, bad words poison. ~ Malagasy Proverb
  • The goat says: Where there is blood, there is plenty of food. ~ Ghanaian Proverb
  • If you see a man in a gown eating with a man in rags, the food belongs to the latter. ~ Fulani Proverb
  • They ate our food, and forgot our names. ~ Tunisian Proverb
  • An abundance of food at your neighbour’s will not satisfy your hunger. ~ Bayaka Proverb
  • Food you will not eat you do not boil. ~ African Proverb

Love

 
  • He who loves the vase loves also what is inside. ~ African proverb
  • It’s much easier to fall in love than to stay in love. ~ African proverb
  • Coffee and love taste best when hot. ~ Ethiopian proverb
  • Where there is love there is no darkness. ~ Burundian proverb
  • If you are ugly you must either learn to dance or make love. ~ Zimbabwean Proverp
  • Pretend you are dead and you will see who really loves you. ~ African proverb
  • To love the king is not bad, but a king who loves you is better. ~ Wolof proverb
  • A happy man marries the girl he loves, but a happier man loves the girl he marries. ~ African proverb
  • If you marry a monkey for his wealth, the money goes and the monkey remains as is. ~ Egyptian proverb
  • Love never gets lost it’s only kept. ~ African proverb
  • Never marry a woman who has bigger feet than you. ~ Mozambique proverb
  • One thread for the needle, one love for the heart. ~ Sudanese proverb
  • Love has to be shown by deeds not words. ~ Swahili proverb
  • Love is a despot who spares no one. ~ Namibian proverb
  • Marriage is like a groundnut; you have to crack it to see what is inside. ~ Ghanaian proverb