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African Proverbs and Old African Sayings

African Proverbs 1 2 3

People know each other better on a journey.  Plaatje

Let rats shoot arrows at each other.  Sudan
Do not tell the man carrying you that he stinks.  Sierra Leone
You suffer from smoke produced by the firewood you fetched yourself.  Luhya, Kenya
A man who dictates separates himself from others.  Somalia
Be on the alert, like the red ant that moves with its claws wide open.  Uganda
Instruction in youth is like engraving in stones.  Berber, North Africa
To be happy in one's home is better than to be a chief.  Yoruba, Nigeria
The elephant never gets tired of carrying its tusks.  Vai, Liberia
By coming and going, a bird weaves its nest.  Ashanti, Ghana
You are sitting in peace (unharmed): as the nose of a cow that feeds among thorntrees and shows no scars.  Luganda, Uganda
The rainmaker who doesn't know what he's doing will be found out by the lack of clouds.  Luganda, Uganda
One who is crazy for meat hunts buffalo.  Luganda, Uganda
One person is thin porridge or gruel; two or three people are a handful of stiff cooked corn meal.  - Kuria, Kenya/Tanzania and Ngoreme, Tanzania
That which is good is never finished.  - Sukuma, Tanzania
One who sees something good must narrate it.  - Ganda, Uganda
To be praised is to be lost.  - Kikuyu, Kenya
The one chased away with a club comes back, but the one chased away with kihooto [reason] does not.  - Kikuyu, Kenya
He who refuses to obey cannot command.  - Kikuyu, Kenya
He who refuses to obey cannot command.  - Kikuyu, Kenya
If one is roasting two potatoes, one of them is bound to get charred.  - Kikuyu, Kenya.
Goodness gets a seat.   - Igala, Nigeria. (Pachocinski, p. 224; explanation: good people will be shown favors and will live longer).
The frog does not run in the daytime for nothing.  - Igbo, Nigeria
Do they prepare leather [for a battle shield] the day they fight?  - Zar, Nigeria
When cutting, look at the age of the machete.  - Fulfulde, Nigeria
He who loves money must labor.  (Mauritania)
Poverty is slavery  (Somalia)
One cannot both feast and become rich.  (Ashanti tribe)
There is no one who became rich because he broke a holiday, no one became fat because he broke a fast.  Ethiopia
Knowledge is  better than riches.    Cameroon
Money is sharper than the sword.  Ashanti tribe
One cannot count on riches.  Somalia
The poor man and the rich man do not play together.  Ashanti tribe
A man's wealth may be superior to him.  Cameroon
With wealth one wins a woman.  Uganda
The rich are always complaining.  Zululand
Where the rooster crows there is a village.  -Schambala proverb
Dogs do not actually prefer bones to meat,it is just that no one ever gives them meat.  Akan proverb, West Africa
A real family eats the same cornmeal.  -Bayombe proverb
If your cornfield is far from your house, the birds will eat your corn.      Pigmy proverb
He who loves money must labor.  Mauritania
One cannot both feast and become rich.  Ashanti tribe
Knowledge is better than riches  Cameroon
Money is sharper than the sword.  Ashanti tribe
One cannot count on riches.  Somalia
The poor man and the rich man   do not play together.  Ashanti tribe
Add legs to the snake after you have finished drawing it.
Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.
A dog knows the places he is thrown food.
Blind belief is dangerous.  - Luyia , Western Kenya
Bad dancing does not brake an engagement.  - Luyia , Western Kenya
A messenger cannot be beaten .  - Luyia proverbs , Western Kenya
A Dog that steals sells its body.  - Luyia proverbs , Western Kenya
A Champion bull starts from birth.  - Luyia.Western Kenya
The pillar of the world is hope.  - Kanuri proverb, Nigeria
A tree not taller than an ant cannot shade you.  - Kanuri proverb, Nigeria
He who marries a real beauty is seeking trouble.  - Accra proverb, Ghana
The young can't teach traditions to the old.  - Yoruba proverb
There is no medicine against old age.    - Accra proverb, Ghana
That man's a fool whose sheep flees twice.    - Oji proverb
When your mouth stumbles, it's worse than feet.    - Oji proverb
Hold a true friend with both hands.  - Kanuri proverb, Nigeria
The pillar of the world is hope.  - Kanuri proverb, Nigeria
One does not love if one does not accept from others.  - Kanuri proverb, Nigeria
Rising early makes the road short.  - Wolof proverb, Senegal
It is better to walk than curse the road.  - Wolof proverb, Senegal
If there is cause to      someone, the cause to love has just begun.  - Wolof proverb, Senegal
The teeth of a man serve as a fence.  - Wolof proverb, Senegal
We add wisdom to knowledge.  - Kalenjin (Kenya)


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