African proverbs

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Love is not blind—it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less.
Rabbi J. Gordon
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This is a collection of many African proverbs.

  • Baganda
    • One who loves you, warns you.
  • Ethiopian
    • Evil enters like a needle and spreads like an oak tree.
    • The mouse is silent while laboring, but when the baby is conceived, she cries.
  • Ghanaian
    • The frog does not eat hot chillies for the lizard to sweat.
    • Where error gets to, correction cannot reach.
    • Got a stone but didn't get a nut to crack, got a nut but didn't get a stone to crack it with.
    • You don't need a light to see someone you know intimately at night.
    • The goat thought it was dirtying its owner's wall till it realized its coat was peeling.
    • If a blind man says he will throw a stone at you, he probably has his foot on one.
    • Ashi vie me duna ashie ga o
      • (Literally - The little hand does not beat the big hand)
      • English equivalent: Monkeys play by sizes
    • So many little things makes a man love a woman in a BIG way.
    • Do good because of tomorrow
  • West African
    • What you cannot see during the day, you will not see at night.
  • Nigerian
    • If a toad jumps around in the daytime, it is either chasing something or something is chasing it.
    • A bird that flies from the ground onto an anthill does not know that it is still on the ground.
    • When mother cow is cropping grass, her young one watches her mouth.
    • Proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten.
    • The earth moves at different speeds depending on who you are.
    • When the elephants fight it is the grass that suffers.
    • The child that will not allow his parents to sleep through the night must be prepared to stay awake himself.
    • A person once bitten by a snake will be scared by an old rope.
    • When the bush is on fire, the antelope ceases to fear the hunter's bullet.
    • He who dines with the dogs will eat feaces.
  • Sierra Leone
    • You can't scare a monkey with a dead baboon.
  • South African
    • Not everyone who chased the zebra caught it, but he who caught it chased it.
    • I relied on the report of "ntulo" (the blue-headed lizard).
  • Zimbabwean
    • A weaning baby that does not cry aloud will die on its mothers back.
    • The forest provides food to the hunter after he is utterly exhausted.
    • One's neighbors' problems do not induce one to lose one's appetite.
    • If you are ugly you must either learn to dance or make love.
    • That which has horns can not be wrapped.
    • A man that does not lie shall never marry.
    • Eat what you have found with your relatives, non-relatives are forgetful.
    • A king's child is a slave elsewhere.
    • What forgets is the axe, but the tree that has been axed will never forget.
    • Things are to be tried, an old lady cooked stones and they produced soup.
  • Zulu
    • In the home of the coward, there is no funeral dirge.
    • A fine staff is hewn from flora in foreign lands.
    • A pelt is rolled up while it is still moist.
    • The foot has no place of repose.
    • What has horns must not be hid in a sack.
  • Unsorted
    • The path is made by walking.
    • The earth is a beehive; we all enter by the same door but live in different cells.
    • An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb.
    • Haraka haraka haina baraka
      • Swahili for: "hurry, hurry has no blessing"
    • Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.
    • He who forgives ends the argument