African Proverbs

The ethnic groups of Africa number in the thousands, with each population generally having its own language and culture. The ethnolinguistic groups include various Afroasiatic, Khoisan, Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharan populations.

Many African proverbs are strongly tied to the earth and animals, conveying lessons of life and learning often through daily, seemingly menial, procedures. Here’s a list of African proverbs from around the continent. Some are known to come from specific tribes, ethnic groups, or countries, and others have an unknown source and are listed simply as “African proverbs.” 

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A wise man who knows proverbs can reconcile all difficulties. – African proverb

African Proverbs

The wise create proverbs for fools to learn not to repeat. – African proverb

A baby chicken sleeps under a hawk’s tree without knowing it. – Kpelle proverb

A bad coconut spoils the good ones. – Swahili proverb

A bad workman blames his tools. – Swahili proverb

A beautiful things is never perfect. – African proverb

A beggar won’t mind being insulted. – African proverb

A big fish is caught with big bait. – Sierra Leonean Proverb

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

A bird that flies from the ground onto an anthill does not know that it is still on the ground. – Nigerian Proverb

A bird that flies off the earth and lands on an anthill is still on the ground. – Igbo proverb

A boat cannot go forward if each rows his own way. – Tanzanian Proverb

A boat doesn’t go forward if each one is rowing his own way. – Swahili proverb

A borrowed thing will not fulfill your desire. – Fulani proverb

A bow which is stretched to the limit breaks. – Bemba proverb

A brave man dies once, a coward a thousand times. – Somali Proverb

A bridge is repaired only when someone falls into the water. – Somali Proverbs

A broken clay pot or plate does not become whole again. – African proverb

A calf doesn’t laugh at a hornless cow. – African proverb

A camel does not tease another camel about its humps. – Egyptian proverb

A canoe does not know who the leader is when it turns over, everyone gets wet. – Madagascar Proverb

A chattering bird builds no nest. – African Proverb

A chick that will grow into a cock can be spotted the very day it hatches. – African proverb

A chicken’s prayer doesn’t affect a hawk. – African Proverb

A child does not laugh at the ugliness of his mother. – Ghanaian Proverb

A child is a child of everyone. – Sudanese proverb

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

A child who is carried on the back will not know how far the journey is. – Nigerian proverb

A child’s fingers are not scalded by a piece of hot yam which his mother puts into his palm. – African proverb

A child’s lie is like a dead fish in a pond that in the end, always comes to the surface, explains his mother. – Luo proverb

A clear conscience makes a soft pillow. – African proverb

A climbing plant does not stay alone. – Ovambo proverb

A coward has no scar. – Shona proverb

A cowardly hyena lives longer. – Tongan proverb

A crowd can easily overpower a bull. – South African Proverb

A cutting word is worse than a bowstring, a cut may heal, but the cut of the tongue does not. – African Proverb

A day of hunger is not starvation. – Congolese Proverb

A deaf ear is followed by death and an ear that listens is followed by blessings. – Samburu and Swahili Proverb

A doctor who invoked a storm on his people cannot prevent his house from destruction. – Nigerian proverb

A dog that has forced its head into a pitcher is greedy. – Shona proverb

A dog which steals leaves its puppies a bad name. – Kaonde proverb

A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has it’s place. – African Proverb

A family tie is like a tree; it can bend but it cannot break. – African Proverb

A feeble effort will not fulfill the self. – African Proverb

A flea can trouble a lion more than a lion can trouble a flea. – Kenyan proverb

A fly does not mind dying in coconut cream. – Swahili proverb

A friend is someone you share the path with. – African proverb

A fully grown up tree cannot be bent into a walking stick. – Kenyan Proverb

A goat cannot be cooked with the hyena. – Hausan proverb

A goat is not a dog; one’s own child is not a slave. – Ovambo proverb

A good child is a crown of honor for his parents. – Swahili proverb

A good deed is something one returns. – African Proverb

A good word removes anger. – Ghanaian Proverb

A gossiping woman is the root of trouble. – Jabo proverb

A grasshopper that sleeps about will be soon awake in a lizard’s mouth. – African Proverb

A horse has four legs, yet it often falls. – African proverb

A hyena will not change its spots even if it moves to a different forest. – Malawian Proverb

A king’s child is a slave elsewhere. – Zimbabwean Proverb

A large chair does not make a king. – Sudanese Proverb

A leader who does not take advice is not a leader. – African Proverb

A leopard is chasing us, and you are asking me, “Is it a male or a female?” – Temne proverb

A letter from the heart can be read on the face. Swahili proverb  – African proverb

A lie has many variations, the truth none. – African proverb

A little rain each day will fill the rivers to overflowing. – Madagascar Proverb

A mad dog bites anything except itself. – Libyan Proverb

A man cannot sit down alone to plan for prosperity. – Nigerian proverb

A man cannot undo his past. Can zebras wipe away their stripes? – Namibian proverb

A man dies but his tongue does not rot. – Twi proverb

A man doesn’t go far from where his corn is roasting. – African Proverb

A man who is trampled to death by an elephant is a man who is blind and deaf. – African proverb

A man who pays respect to the great paves the way for his own greatness. – African proverb

A man with too much ambition cannot sleep in peace. – Chadian Proverb

A man’s actions are more important than his ancestry. – Kenyan Proverb

A man’s face shows what is in his heart. – Hausa proverb

A man’s wealth may be superior to him. – Cameroonian Proverb

A market is not held for the sake of one person. – Fulani proverb

A marketplace is not the pace for a husband and wife to argue. – African proverb

A mother is not to be compared with another person – she is incomparable. – Mongoan proverb

A Mothers Tenderness for her children is as discrete as the dew that kisses the Earth. – Nigerian Proverb

A patient person has all the wealth that there is in this world. – Jabo proverb

A person does not become clever by carrying books along. – Swahili proverb

A person is not his words. – Kpelle proverb

A person who has children does not die. – Nigerian Proverb

A person who is not disciplined cannot be cautioned.– Tanzanian Proverb

A person who stammers would eventually say “father”. – Yoruba proverb

A person with too much ambition cannot sleep in peace. – Chadian Proverb

A poor man’s drum is his belly. – Hausa proverb

A proud heart can survive a general failure because such a failure does not prick its pride. – African proverb

A proverb is the horse of conversation: when the conversation lags, a proverb revives it. – African proverb

A quarrelsome chief does not hold a village together. – Malawian Proverb

A restless grasshopper eventually ends up in a birds teeth. – African Proverb

A ripe melon falls by itself. – African Proverb

A roaring lion kills no game. – Ugandan Proverb

A roaring lion kills no game. – Zimbabwean Proverb

A roaring lion kills no prey. – African proverb

A rooster is not expected to crow for the whole world. – African Proverb

A set of white teeth does not indicate a pure heart. – African proverb

A short person hangs his bag where his hand can reach. – Igbo proverb

A single bracelet does not jingle. – Congolese Proverb

A single stick may smoke, but it will not burn. – African Proverb

A slave has no choice. – Kenyan Proverb

A slip of the tongue is worse than a slip of your feet. – African proverb

A slippery person is not a king. – Kenyan Proverb

A small shrub may grow into a tree. – Sudanese Proverb

A snake that you can see does not bite. – Mozambican Proverb

A speaker of truth has no friends. – African proverb

A stream cannot rise above its source. – African Proverb

A talkative bird will not build a nest. – African proverb

A thief and darkness are friends. – Shona proverb

A tree cannot stand without roots. – Congolese Proverb

A tree does not move unless there is wind. – Nigerian Proverb

A tree is known by its fruit. – Zulu proverb

A tree is straightened while it is still young. – African Proverb

A Tutsi liked to warm himself by the fire someone else took the bull. – Zinza Proverb of Tanzania

A wanderer with a mouth will not get lost. – Ovambo proverb

A warrior fights with courage, not with anger. – African proverb

A weaning baby that does not cry aloud will die on its mothers back. – Zimbabwean Proverb

A weapon that you don’t have in your hand will not kill a snake. – African proverb

A woman is never old when it comes to the dance she knows. – African Proverb

A woman’s polite devotion is her greatest beauty. – African proverb

Accomplishment of purpose is better than making a profit. – Hausa proverb

Advice is a stranger; if he’s welcome he stays for the night; if not, he leaves the same day. – Malagasy Proverb

Advice is like a stranger–if welcome, he stays the night; if not welcome, he returns home that day. – African Proverb

After a fish has matured, it ventures into the deep. – Annang proverb

All errors are amendable. – African Proverb

All heads are the same, but not all thoughts are the same. – Ghanaian Proverb

All monkeys cannot hang on the same branch. – Kenyan Proverb

All the flowers of a tree do not produce fruit. – Wolof proverb

All work asks for diligence. – Ovambo proverb

An elephant never gets tired of supporting its tusks. – Liberian proverb

An empty pot makes the loudest noise. – Kenyan Proverb

An envious person requires no reason to practice envy. – Swahili proverb

An intelligent enemy is better than a stupid friend. – Senegalese proverb

An okra tree does not grow taller that its master. – Sierra Leonean Proverb

An old rice bag is ugly, but the thing inside is beautiful. – Kpelle proverb

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

An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb. – African proverb

An orphaned calf licks its own back. – Kenyan proverb

An ox shits more than a hundred mosquitoes. – Mozambican proverb

Ancient things remain in the ears. – Ashanti proverb

Anger against a brother is felt on the flesh, not in the bone. – African proverb

Anger and madness are brothers. – African proverb

Anxiety will not let you die of hunger. – African proverb

Around a flowering tree there are many insects. – Guinean Proverb

As soon as the monkey has climbed a tree, it will start abusing from its elevated position. – Namibian proverb

As the dog said, ‘If I fall down for you and you fall down for me, it is playing.’  – African proverb

Ashes fly back into the face of him who throws them. – African Proverb

Authority does not depend on age. – Ovambo proverb

Avarice is the root of all evil. – Swahili proverb

Avoid those who always praise you. – Swahili proverb

Baboons do not go far from the place of their birth. – Masai Proverb

Bad friends will prevent you from having good friends. – Gabon Proverb

Bad luck for one man is good luck for another. – Ghanaian Proverb

Bad luck for one man is good luck for another. – Ghanaian Proverb

Bad luck rots and in the end one rejoices. – Bemba proverb

Be a mountain or lean on one. – Somali proverb

Because we focused on the snake, we missed the scorpion. – African proverb

Begin with patience, end with pleasure. – Swahili proverb

Being happy in life is better than being a king. – Hausa proverb

Being happy is better than being king. – Nigerian Proverb

Better little than too little. – Cameroonian proverb

Better little, than too little. – Burundian Proverb

Better to stumble with the toe than with the tongue. – Swahili proverb

Between two friends even water drunk together is sweet enough. – Zimbabwe proverb

Birds of all kinds will end up landing. – African Proverb

Birds of all kinds will end up landing. – Egyptian Proverb

Birds sing not because they have answers but because they have songs. – African Proverb

By coming and going, a bird constructs its nest. – Ghanaian Proverb

By crawling a child learns to stand. – West African Proverb

By his deeds we know a man. – Jabo proverb

By the time the fool has learned to play the game, the players have dispersed. – Ashanti proverb

By trying often the monkey learns to jump from the tree. – African Proverb

Cat and mouse cannot be neighbors long. – African proverb

Character comes before the teacher. – Hausa proverb

Character is like pregnancy. It cannot be hidden forever. – African Proverb

Children are the reward of life. – Congolese Proverb

Choose your neighbor before you buy your house. – Hausa proverb

Coffee and love taste best when hot. – African proverb

Confiding a secret to an unworthy person is like carrying grain in a bag with a hole. – Nilotic Proverb

Connected with a great man, you will advance. – Efik proverb

Copying everyone else all the time, the monkey one day cut his throat. – Zulu Proverb

Covetousness is the father of disease. – African proverb

Crawling on hands and knees has never prevented anyone from walking upright. – Kenyan Proverb

Crying a lot does not give you peace of mind. – Burundian Proverb

Cutting the ears of a mule will not make him a horse. – African proverb

Dance in the sun, and turn your back to the clouds. – African proverb

Dance, father, people’s eyes don’t eat, they just stare. – Bantu Proverb

Daylight follows a dark night. – African proverb

Death has no modesty. – Zulu proverb

Despite the beauty of the moon, sun and stars, the sky also has a threatening thunder and striking lightening. – African proverb

Difficult tasks call for strong men. – Shona proverb

Discord between the powerful is a fortune for the poor. – African Proverb

Disobedience is the father of insolence. – Yoruba proverb

Do a good deed and throw it into the sea. – Egyptian proverb

Do not allow the belly to make you useless. – Maasai Proverb

Do not belittle the wife, she is the home. – Ovambo proverb

Do not break your cooking pot for the passing guest. – African proverb

Do not call the forest that shelters you a jungle. – African Proverb

Do not call to a dog with a whip in your hand. – Sudanese Proverb

Do not follow a person who is running away. – Kenyan proverb

Do not forget what is to be a sailor because of being a captain yourself. – African proverb

Do not let the goat you might carry on your shoulder play in the mud. – Mende proverb

Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped. – African proverb

Do not rush the night—the sun will always rise for its own sake. – African proverb

Do not scare the birds you are going to shoot. – Madagascar proverb

Do not shed tear for what does not belong to you. – African proverb

Do not stand in a place of danger trusting in miracles. – African Proverb

Do not tell a child not to touch a hot lamp, the lamp will tell him. – African proverb

Do not tell the man who is carrying you that he stinks. – Sierra Leonean Proverb

Do not throw away an empty net, for you do not know what God will do next. – African proverb

Do not try to fight a lion if you are not one yourself. – Swahili proverb

Do not whirl a snake in the air when you have killed it; the ones which remain in their holes – see you.- Thongan proverb

Do something at its (right) time, and peace will accompany it. – African proverb

Don’t expect to be offered a chair when you are visiting a place where the chief sits on the floor. – Ghanaian Proverb

Don’t fight a lion with a stick. – Maasai Proverb

Don’t look where you fell; look where you slipped. – Liberian proverb

Don’t meddle with a family feud. – South African Proverb

Don’t set sail on someone else’s star. – African proverb

Don’t set sail using someone else’s star. – African Proverb

Don’t think there are no crocodiles just because the water’s calm. – African Proverb

Dreaming of eating will not satisfy the hungry. – Fulani proverb

Drop by drop rain fills a pot. – Annang proverb

Each trip gives you its own uniqueness. – Libyan Proverb

Earth is the queen of beds. – Namibian proverb

Effort will not counter faith. – Swahili proverb

Envy is prosperity’s manure. – Fulani proverb

Even a slow walker will arrive. – Ovambo proverb

Even an ant can hurt an elephant. – South African Proverb

Even if you bewitch in the night, you will be known. – Kenyan Proverb

Even if you dance in the water, your enemies will accuse you of causing dust. – African proverb

Even in the monastery there is occasion for song and merriment. – Ethiopian Proverb

Even the best dancer on the stage must retire sometime. – African Proverb

Even the fiercest leader in the world is overcome by sleep. – Malawian Proverb

Even the lion, the king of the forest, protects himself against flies. – Ghanaian proverb

Even the mightest eagle comes down to the tree tops to rest. – African Proverb

Even the Niger river must flow around an island. – Hausa Proverb

Even when there is no rooster, the morning will still start. – South African Proverb

Even without drumbeats, the banana leaves dance. – Congolese Proverb

Every door has its own key. – Kenyan Proverb

Every fame has a foundation. – African Proverb

Every head must do its own thinking. – Liberian proverb

Every kind of love is love, but self-love is supreme among them. – Niger Proverbs

Every living thing has a story to tell. – African proverb

Every misfortune is a blessing. – African Proverb

Every woman is beautiful until she speaks. – African proverb

Everybody has been young before, but not everybody has been old before. – African proverb

Everything the house gets is by favor of the door. – Hausa proverb

Evil enters like a needle and spreads like an oak tree. – Ethiopian proverb

Examine what is said, not him who speaks. – Egyptian Proverb

Examine what is said, not who speaks. – African proverb

Family names are like flowers, they blossom in clusters. – African Proverb

Faults are like hills. You climb yours and then see other people’s faults. – Hausa proverb

Fear in the forest is shame in the home. – Hausa proverb

Fear no forest because it is dense. – African Proverb

Female quarrels breed court cases. – Shona proverb

Few bewail a fool’s misfortune. – Fulani proverb

Filthy water cannot be washed. – African Proverb

First work, then wages. – Swahili proverb

For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today. – African Proverb

Give thanks for a little and you will find a lot. – African proverb

Glory does not come by calling. – Kenyan Proverb

Go and you will find a stone in the road that you can’t get over or pass. – Zulu proverb

God does not hide a liar. – Swahili proverb

God gives nothing to those who keep their arms crossed. – African Proverb

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

God speaks a foreign tongue. – Ovambo proverb

Gold should be sold to the one who knows the value of it. – African Proverb

Good millet is known at the harvest. – Liberian Proverb

Good music goes with good food. – African Proverb

Gossiping about the enemy can result in a war. – Liberian proverb

Greatness and beauty do not belong to the Gods alone. – African proverb

Gunpowder and fire do not agree. – Ghanaian Proverb

Had you known what bees eat, you would not have tasted honey. – Swahili proverb

Haste and hurry can only bear children with many regrets along the way. – Senegalese Proverb

Haste is not strength. – Hausa proverb

Having a good discussion is like having riches. – African Proverb

He has rubbed shoulders against a baobab tree. – Meru Proverb

He is a fool whose sheep runs away twice. – Ashanti Proverb

He is an enemy who slanders one’s name. – Yoruba proverb

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

He that beats the drum for the mad man to dance is no better than the mad man himself. – African proverb

He who argues builds no roads. – Ovambo proverb

He who burns down his house knows why ashes cost a fortune. – African proverb

He who cannot dance will say, The drum is bad! – Ashanti Proverb

He who continually uses an axe, must keep it sharp. – Hausa proverb

He who crosses the sea is wet. – Wolof proverb

He who destined for power does not have to fight for it. – African proverb

He who dictates separates himself from others. – Somali Proverb

He who does not know one thing knows another. – African Proverb

He who does not like chattering woman will remain a bachelor. – Congolese Proverb

He who does not seize opportunity today, will be unable to seize tomorrow’s opportunity. – Somali Proverb

He who doesn’t clean his mouth before breakfast always complains that the food is sour. – African Proverb

He who farms is spared the trouble of buying corn. – Hausa proverb

He who fears the sun will not become chief. – African proverb

He who guards himself will not perish. – Ovambo proverb

He who has not traveled widely thinks that his mother is the best cook. – African proverb

He who hearts not the music thinks the dancer mad. – African proverb

He who is being carried does not realize how far the town is. – African Proverb

He who is destined for power does not have to fight for it. – Ugandan Proverb

He who is guilty is the one who has much to say. – Ashanti proverb

He who is in the shade does not know that another is in the sun. – Hausa proverb

He who is unable to dance says that the yard is stony. – Masai proverb

He who is unable to dance says the yard is stony. – Kenyan Proverb

He who learns, teaches. – Ethiopian Proverb

He who marries a beauty marries trouble. – Yoruba proverb

He who refuses to obey cannot command. – Kenyan Proverb

He who runs after good fortune runs away from peace. – African proverb

He who talks continuously, talks nonsense. – Côte d’Ivoire proverb

He who tells the truth is never wrong. – Swahili proverb

He who thinks he is leading and has no one following him is only taking a walk. – Malawian Proverb

He who throws a stone in the market will hit his relative. – Yoruba proverb

He who wants to be famous will have many sleepless nights. – African Proverb

He who was busy with two things drowned. – Bemba proverb

He who will not work of his own accord will find himself forced to work by another. – Hausa proverb

He whom a serpent has bitten dreads a slow-worm. – Oji proverb

Heal yourself first before you heal others. – Gambian proverb

Help me during the flood, and I will help you during the drought.– Tanzanian Proverb

His opinions are like water in the bottom of a canoe, going from side to side. – Efik Proverb

Hold a true friend with both your hands. – Kanuri proverb

Home is not where we live; home is where we belong. – African proverb

Honor a child, and he will honor you. – African proverb

Hope does not disappoint. – South African Proverb

Hope does not kill; I shall live and get what I want one day. – Zulu proverb

Hope nourishes the living. – Fulani proverb

Horn blowers, blow in unison. – Ugandan Proverb

Hot water is no playground for a frog. – Fulani proverb

How can man be remembered when the giant trees in the forest are soon forgotten. – African proverb

However bad the bread it is better than cattle dung. – Hausa proverb

However far a stream flows, it never forgets its origin. – African proverb

However long the night may last, there will be a morning. – African Proverb

However long the night, the dawn will always break. – Hausa proverb

However much it rains on you, no wild banana tree will grow on your head. – Kenyan Proverb

Hunger is a good cook. – Ovambo proverb

Hunger is felt by a slave, and hunger is felt by a king. – Togo Proverb

Hurry, hurry has no blessings. – Swahili Proverb

I cannot hear what you say for the thunder of what you are. – African proverb

I pointed out the stars and moon to you, but all you saw was the tip of my finger!– Tanzanian Proverb

I pointed out to you the stars and all you saw was the tip of my finger. – Somalian proverb

I pointed out to you the stars and all you saw was the tip of my finger. – Swahili proverb

I shall come for the cows after the donkeys have grown horns. – Meru Proverb

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

If a child washes his hands he could eat with kings. – African proverb

If a man is unhappy, his conduct is the cause. – Tshi proverb

If a stranger comes to stay with you, do not forget when you lay aside his weapons that he is hungry. – Maasai Proverb

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

If beards signified intelligence, the goat would have been a genius. – African proverb

If everyone thought the same way, no goods would ever be sold. – Libyan Proverb

If it is dark, all men are black. – Ghanaian Proverb

If someone is walking towards you, you don’t need to tell him “come here.” – Ghanaian Proverb

If speech is silver, patience is gold. – Fulani proverb

If the banana pest doesn’t die it will always reach at the ripe banana. – African Proverb

If the cockroach wants to rule over the chicken, then it must hire the fox as a body-guard. – African Proverb

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

If the palm of the hand itches it signifies the coming of great luck. – Lesotho Proverb

If the rabbit is your enemy, admit that he can sprint fast. – Mali Proverb

If the rhythm of the drumbeats changes, the dance steps must adapt. – African proverb

If the sun claims that it has power over the moon, let it shine in the night. – African proverb

If the vulture fails to hover at the end of a sacrifice, then you know that something happened in the land of spirits. – African proverb

If the wind blows, it enters every crevice. – Egyptian Proverb

If the young are not initiated into the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth. – African proverb

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

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

If while climbing a tree you insist on going beyond the top, the earth will be waiting for you. – African Proverb

If you are building a house and a nail breaks, do you stop building or do you change the nail? – Rwandan proverb

If you are building something and a nail breaks, should you stop building altogether, or should you change the nail? – Rwandan proverb

If you are kicked from behind, it means you are in front. – African proverb

If you are rich, always shut your door. – Oji proverb

If you are too modest, then you will go hungry. – Congolese Proverb

If you climb up a tree, you must climb down the same tree. – Sierra Leonean Proverb

If you damage the character of another, you damage your own. – Yoruba Proverb

If you do not know death, look at the grave. – Kenyan Proverb

If you don’t like someone story, write your own. – African proverb

If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for something. – African Proverb

If you don’t want to resign yourself to poverty, resign yourself to work. – Hausa proverb

If you eat all your harvest, you won’t have seed for tomorrow. – African Proverb

If you escaped from the lion’s den, why go back for your hat? – African Proverb

If you have a dog, don’t throw away bones. – Ugandan Proverb

If you have decided to eat a dog, eat a fat one. – Ugandan proverb

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

If you have not been to two different bazaars, then you do not know what the best value is. – Burkina Faso Proverbs

If you know the beginning well, the end will not trouble you. – Wolof proverb

If you live next to the cemetery, you cannot cry for everyone. – African proverb

If you marry a monkey for its wealth, the money goes and the monkey remains. – Egypt proverb

If you offend, ask for a pardon; if offended forgive. – African Proverb

If you pick up one end of the stick you also pick up the other. – Ethiopian proverb

If you receive a gift don’t measure it. – African proverb

If you refuse the advice of an elder, you will walk until sunset. – African proverb 

If you run after two hares you will catch neither. – African proverb

If you see someone riding a bamboo-cane [in a way that he is enjoying his imagination and fantasizing like he is riding an animal], tell him “What a lovely horse!” – Tunisian Proverb

If you see wrongdoing or evil and say nothing against it, you become its victim. – African proverb

If you send no one to the market, the market will send no one to you. – Yoruba proverb

If you sow the wind, you will harvest a hurricane. – Swahili proverb

If you tell people to live together, you tell them to quarrel. – African proverb

If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito. – African Proverb

If you think you have someone eating out of your hands, it is a good idea to count your fingers. – Nigerian Proverb

If you wait for tomorrow, tomorrow comes. If you don’t wait for tomorrow, tomorrow comes. – Senegalese Proverb

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. – African Proverb

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others. – African Proverb

If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. – African Proverb

If your mouth turns into a knife, it will cut off your lips. – Rwandan Proverb

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

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

In the birds’ court, a cockroach never wins his case. – Rwandan proverb

In the land of promise a man may die of hunger. – African Proverb

Indecision is like a stepchild: if he doesn’t wash his hands, then he is called dirty; but if he washes his hands, then he is wasting water!  – African proverb

Indecision is the house of hunger. – Swahili proverb

Ingratitude is sooner or later fatal to its author. – Twi Proverb

Inquiry saves a man from mistakes. – Yoruba proverb

It is better to blush than to keep the concern in your heart. – Tunisian Proverb

It is better to walk than curse the road. – Senegalese Proverb

It is better to walk than curse the road. – Wolof proverb

It is crooked wood that shows the best sculptor. – African Proverb

It is difficult to throw a stone at a lizard which is clinging to a pot. – Ashanti proverb

It is mysterious if a baboon falls from a tree. – Shona proverb

It is no disgrace at all to work for money. – Ghanaian Proverb

It is no shame at all to work for money. – Ghanaian Proverb

It is not changing into a lion that is hard; it is getting the tail of a lion. – African proverb

It is not necessary to blow out the other person’s lantern to let yours shine. – Swahili proverb

It is not only giants that do great things. – Jabo proverb

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

It is not what you are called, but what you answer to. – African Proverb

It is not work that kills, but worry. – African Proverb

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

It is the belly which daily gives thanks. – Maasai Proverb

It is the grass that suffers when elephants fight. – Kenyan Proverb

It is the one who lives in the house who knows where the roof leaks. – African Proverb

It is the toothless animal that arrives first at the base of the fruit tree, to eat his fill before others arrive. – Nigerian proverb

It is the woman who knows her husband. – Ashanti proverb

It takes a whole village to raise a child. – African proverb

It’s always good to save or invest for the future. – Swahili proverb

It’s like removing a hyena from a pit. – Meru Proverb

It’s not what you call me, but what I answer to. – African 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

Knowledge is better than riches. – Cameroonian Proverb

Knowledge is light, ignorance is darkness. – African Proverb

Knowledge is like a garden: If it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested. – African Proverb

Lack of knowledge is darker than night. – African Proverb

Learning expands great souls. – African proverb

Let everyone sweep his own floor. – Ovambo proverb

Let it be a bite of a cockroach and fly with the wind. – Meru Proverb

Life is full of questions. Idiots are full of answers. – African proverb

Life’s caravan never turns back. – Swahili proverb

Little by little grow the bananas. – Congolese Proverb

Little by little the bird builds its nest. – Nigerian Proverb

Little by little, a little becomes a lot.– Tanzanian Proverb

Living in peace is better than living as a king. – Hausa proverb

Lonely is one. – Maasai Proverb

Looking at a king’s mouth one would never think he sucked his mother’s breast. – African proverb

Looking for something can get in the way of finding it. – African proverb

Make some money but don’t let money make you. – Tanzanian Proverb

Man is like pepper: not till you chew him do you know his heat. – Hausa proverb

Many are cursed for the crime of one. – Ovambo proverb

Milk and honey have different colors, but they share the same house peacefully. – African Proverb

Misfortune of soup made of shanks and feet. – Xhosa Proverb

Money cannot talk, yet it can make lies look true. – African proverb

More precious than our children are the children of our children. – Egyptian Proverb

Mother raise their daughters and let their sons grow up. – African proverb

Moving water makes stagnant water move. – Somalian proverb

Much silence makes a powerful noise. – African Proverb

Much talking does not make you a leader. – Ugandan proverb

Never let hyena know how well you can bite. – African proverb

Never marry a woman who has bigger feet than you. – Mozambican Proverb

News is interesting from the mouth of him who tells it first. – Yoruba proverb

No fence is built for the eyes. – Ovambo proverb

No man can outwit the ancestors. – African proverb

No man fears what he has seen grow. – African Proverb

No masika (rain season) without mosquitoes. – Kenyan Proverb

No matter how beautiful and well crafted a coffin might look, it will not make anyone wish for death. – African Proverb

No matter how big a child is, he cannot deny that he was once carried on the back of a woman. – African Proverb

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

No matter how hot your anger is, it cannot cook yams. – African proverb

No matter how long the night is, the morning is sure to come. – Congolese Proverb

No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow. – Guinean proverb

No matter how many house chores you complete, there are always more to be done. – Mali Proverb

No matter how much milk a cow has, you cannot milk butter from it. – Guinean proverb

No matter how thoroughly a crow may wash, it remains ever black. – Shona proverb

No one is a blacksmith at birth. – Ovambo proverb

No one sends a child on an errand and looks to see if he is pleased or not. – Ashanti proverb

No one tests the depth of a river with both feet. – Ashanti Proverb

No person born great. Great people become great when others are sleeping. – African proverb

No sun sets without its histories. – Zulu proverb

No tattoo is made without blood. – Mozambican Proverb

No water without waves. – Kenyan Proverb

Nobody hates anybody without cause. – Ghanaian Proverb

Not to know is bad, not to wish to know is worse. – Wolof proverb

Numbers can achieve anything. – Ghanaian Proverb

Obstinacy does not redeem anyone. – Malawian Proverb

Of hunger and debt, debt is preferable. – Ashanti proverb

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

Old people’s speech is not to be dishonored—after all, they saw the sun first. – Namibian proverb

Once swallowed it is not sweet anymore. – African proverb

Once the mushroom has sprouted from the earth, there is no turning back. – Luo proverb

Once you carry your own water, you will learn the value of every drop. – African Proverb

One arrow can knock down an elephant. – Kenyan Proverb

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

One cannot count on riches. – African proverb

One cannot fight on two roads. – Jabo proverb

One cannot part two fighting bulls. – Wolof proverb

One does not cross a river with a fool. – Ovambo proverb

One does not enter into the water and then run from the cold. – Yoruba proverb

One does not fight to save another person’s head only to have a kite carry one’s own away. – Yoruba proverb

One does not use a sword to kill a snail. – Yoruba proverb

One falsehood spoils a thousand truths. – African Proverb

One fly does not provide for another. – Xhosa Proverb

One foot isn’t enough to walk with. – Egyptian Proverb

One gets bitten by a snake only once. – Yoruba proverb

One head alone does not go into council. – Ghanaian Proverb

One knee doesn’t bring up a child. – Swahili proverb

One lie spoils a thousand truths. – Ghanaian Proverb

One man’s fate is another man’s lesson. – Swahili proverb

One must talk little and listen much. – African Proverb

One person cannot move a mountain. – African Proverb

One should first stab a hyena then aim for a lion. – Oromo proverb

One spark burned down a forest. – Ovambo proverb

One takes care of one’s own: when a bachelor roasts yam, he shares it with his sheep. – Yoruba proverb

One who bathes willingly with cold water doesn’t feel the cold. – Fipa proverb

One who eats a guinea fowl does not start to look like a guinea fowl. – Bemba proverb

One who relates with a corrupt person likewise gets corrupted. – Kenyan Proverb

One who says “It was too much for me” does not try. – Gandan proverb

One whose seeds have not sprouted does not give up planting. – Kenyan Proverb

One with lean meat or merely even just the skin is better off than one with mushrooms. – Shona proverb

Only a fool tests the depth of a river with both feet. – African proverb

Only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet. – African proverb

Only a fool tests the water’s depth with both feet. – Ghanaian Proverb

Only a fool tests the water’s depth with both feet. – Ghanaian Proverb

Only a medicine man gets rich by sleeping. – Kenyan Proverb

Only someone else can scratch your back. – Kenyan Proverb

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

People should not talk while they are eating or pepper may go down the wrong way. – African proverb

People who drink to drown their sorrows should be told that sorrow knows how to swim. – African proverb

Place value on defending your home. – Ovambo proverb

Politeness is not slavery. – Swahili proverb

Poverty destroys a man’s reputation. – Yoruba proverb

Prepare now for the solutions of tomorrow. – Congolese Proverb

Profit surpasses pride. – Swahili proverb

Prosperity is freedom; poverty is slavery. – African Proverb

Rain does not fall on one roof alone. – Cameroonian Proverb

Rain wets the leopard’s spots, but it doesn’t wash them off. – Togo Proverb

Repetition is the mother of knowledge. – African Proverb

Respect for a stupid person is stupidity. – Swahili proverb

Respect yourself, and you will get it back. – Tunisian Proverb

Rest comes only after hardship. – Swahili proverb

Rich people cook their food in a potsherd. – Kikuyu Proverb

Rich people sometimes eat bad food. – Kikuyu Proverb

Rising early makes the road short. – African Proverb

Rules are stronger than an individual’s power. – African Proverb

Seeing is different than being told. – African Proverb

Send a boy where he wishes to go, and you will see his best pace. – African proverb

Several repeated visits to the mud pit enable the wasp to build its house. – Ghanaian Proverb

Sharpening a knife does not frighten a horse. – Hausa proverb

Show me your friend and I will show you your character. – African proverb

Silence itself is eloquent. – Fulani proverb

Sin devours the one who has committed it. – Shona proverb

Slander by the stream will be heard by the frogs. – Mozambican proverb

Slowly, slowly, porridge goes into the gourd. – Kuria People of Kenyan & Tanzania

Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. – Swahili proverb

Someone who refuses a brother’s advice breaks his arm. – Somali proverb

Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable. – Bondei Proverb

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

Suppression of hunger leads to death. – Kenyan Proverb

Talk gets a talkative man into trouble. – Fulani proverb

Teeth do not see poverty. – Masai proverb

The ailment of the heart is known to one only. – Zulu proverb

The always-hurrying person eats goat, but the one who takes his time eats beef. – Lesotho Proverb

The antelope detests the one who announces its whereabouts more than the one who seesit. – Kikuyu proverb

The antelope does not bear a child that cannot run. – Hausa proverb

The antics of a market buffoon provide laughter, but nobody prays that his child becomes the market buffoon. – African Proverb

The axe forgets but the tree remember. – African proverb

The bad craftsman quarrels with his tools. – Swahili proverb

The beasts plan ahead before entering the fields. – Jabo proverb

The beauty of a woman becomes useless if there is no one to admire it. – African proverb

The bee is the doctor of flowers. – Congolese Proverb

The belly does not swell if a woman is not pregnant. – Maasai Proverb

The best time to plan a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – African proverb

The big game often appears when the hunter has given up the hunt for the day. – Igbo Proverb

The bird that pecks at a rock trusts in the strength of its beak. – Ugandan proverb

The blame of the antelope is on the hunter. – Kenyan Proverb

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

The butterfly that flies among the thorns will tear its wings. – Jabo proverb

The cat and the mouse can’t be neighbors for long.. – Namibian proverb

The chameleon changes color to match the earth, the earth doesn’t change colors to match the chameleon. – Senegalese Proverb

The chameleon looks in all directions before moving. – Ugandan Proverb

The child of a rat is a rat. – Malagasy proverb

The child of the crab walks sideways like his mother. – Sotho proverb

The child you sired hasn’t sired you. – Somali proverb

The children of the same mother do not always agree. – Wolof proverb

The cow that bellows does so for all cows. – Kenyan Proverb

The cradle is rocked but the baby is pinched. – African proverb

The day before yesterday and yesterday are not the same as today. – Kenyan Proverb

The day you are unlucky, even the cold food burns. – Bemba proverb

The death of an elderly man is like a burning library. – Ivorian proverb

The dog that has left the house has no master. – Wolof proverb

The eagle does not hunt flies. – African Proverb

The early wanderer found a turtle. – Ovambo proverb

The earth is a beehive; we all enter by the same door. – African Proverb

The elders of the village are the boundaries. – Ghanaian Proverb

The elephant does not limp when walking on thorns. – Ethiopian Proverb

The enemy you know is better than the one you do not know. – Kenyan Proverb

The eye cannot penetrate darkness. – Maasai Proverb

The fire screened by the elders does not burn. – Bemba proverb

The fire which is screened by elders is not dangerous. – Bemba proverb

The friend of a quarrel picker is quarrelsome. – Ovambo proverb

The friends of our friends are our friends. – Congolese Proverb

The good mother knows what her children will eat. – Akan Proverb

The grains of corn in a bottle get viewed with disdain by the hen. – Yoruba proverb

The gratitude that bees receive is the smoke that people use to expel them and get at their – honey. – Swahili proverb

The groin pains in sympathy with the sore. – Zulu proverb

The growing millet does not fear the sun. – Acholi Proverb

The haughty blind person picks a fight with his guide. – Ethiopian proverb

The hen pecks and wipes its beak. – Kenyan Proverb

The hen with baby chicks doesn’t swallow the worm. – Swahili proverb

The house of a person we love is never far. – African proverb

The house of the loud talker leaks. – Zulu proverb

The house roof fights the rain, but the person who is sheltered ignores it. – Senegalese Proverb

The humble pay for the mistakes of their leaders. – Tanzanian Proverb

The hunter in pursuit of an elephant does not stop to throw stones at birds. – Mandinka Proverb

The hunter who is tracking an elephant does not stop to throw stones at birds. – Ugandan Proverb

The hyena chasing two gazelles at the same will go to bed hungry. – Mali Proverb

The influence of the fountain makes the brook flow. – Yoruba proverb

The jungle is stronger than the elephant. – South African Proverb

The key that unlocks is also the key that locks. – African proverb

The key to a healthy body is a good head. – Somali Proverb

The laughter of a child is the light of a house. – Ugandan Proverb

The laughter of a child lights up the house. – Swahili proverb

The lead cow (the one in front) gets whipped the most. – Zulu proverb

The little ant at its hole is full of courage. – Bemba proverb

The lizard that jumped from the high iroko tree to the ground said he would praise himself if no one else did. – African proverb

The man may be the head of the home, but the wife is the heart. – Kenyan proverb

The mice eat the miser’s goods. – Oji proverb

The monkey and gorilla may claim kinship, but the monkey is a monkey and the gorilla is a gorilla. – African Proverb

The monkey thought he was a man until a fine shot brought him down. – African proverb

The monkey who is alone does not amuse himself in front of many. – Bemba proverb

The more feathers a chicken has, the bigger it looks. – Zambian Proverb

The mouth is the shield to protect oneself. – Zulu proverb

The mouth which eats does not talk. – African proverb

The needs of the monkey are not those of the anteater. – Fulani proverb

The night has ears. – Masai proverb

The old woman looks after the child to grow its teeth. The young one looks after the old woman when she loses her teeth. – Akan Proverb

The one nearest to the enemy is the real leader. – Ugandan Proverb

The one who listens is the one who understands. – Jabo proverb

The orphan does not rejoice after a heavy breakfast. – African Proverb

The person going home is not stopped by the dusk. – Bemba proverb

The person who guards himself will not be destroyed. – Namibian proverb

The person who rides a donkey cannot avoid smelling its farts. – African proverb

The poorest man in this world is not the one without money but the one without people. – African Proverb

The radiant and well-understood speech of one person is better than the speech of a thousand people that is not. – Moroccan Proverb

The rain does not recognize anyone as a friend it drenches all equally. – Ibo Proverb

The rain falls on every roof. – African Proverb

The restless grasshopper only finds rest in the gizzard of a bird. – African Proverb

The Rhinoceros never dances with the monkey. – Nigerian Proverb

The rich are always complaining. – African proverb

The roaring lion kills no prey. – Nigerian Proverb

The song of a stranger-woman is answered after she has gone. – Kikuyu Proverb

The stick in the hand kills the snake. – Kenyan Proverb

The strength of a fish is in the water. – Shona proverb

The strong bull is overcome when it limps. – Ethiopian Proverb

The strong do not need clubs. – Senegalese Proverb

The sun does not forget a village just because it is small. – African proverb

The sun never sets without fresh news. – Xhosa Proverb

The sun will shine on those who stand before its shines and on those who kneel after under them. – African proverb

The teeth of a dog do not lock together. – Swahili proverb

The thief does not gossip about his accomplice. – Jabo proverb

The unborn baby that fears criticism will never be born. – Burundian Proverb

The viper allows no insolence. – Yoruba proverb

The water pot presses upon the small circular pad. – Swahili proverb

The way a donkey expresses gratitude is by giving someone a bunch of kicks. – Swahili proverb

The wealth of the greedy ultimately goes to the community. – African proverb

The words of the elders become sweet some day. – Malawian Proverb

The world does not belong to the staring buck, but to the fox that is not eaten tomorrow. – Ovambo proverb

The world does not make promises to anybody. – African proverb

The worlds of the elders do not lock all the doors; they leave the right door open. – Zambian proverb

The wrong-headed fool, who refuses counsel, will come to grief. – Zulu proverb

The young bird does not crow until it hears the old ones. – Tswana proverb

The zebra told the white horse, “I am white,” and told the black horse, “I am actually black.”. – Namibian proverb

There are 40 kinds of lunacy, but only one kind of common sense. – African proverb

There are no shortcuts to the top of the palm tree. – Cameroonian Proverb

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. – East African proverb

There is always a winner even in a monkey’s beauty contest. – African Proverb

There is no beauty but the beauty of action. – Moroccan Proverb

There is no medicine to cure hatred. – Ashanti proverb

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

There is no worse curse than to desire a man’s death. – Efik proverb

There is not such a thing in the world as a sheep of many colours. – Masai Proverb

There’s no God like the throat, it accepts offerings every day. – Yoruba proverb

Those who accomplish great things pay attention to little ones. – Malian Proverb

Those who are absent are always wrong. – Congolese Proverb

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

Those who hide pain will be made known when weeping. – African proverb

Those who wear pearls do not know how often the shark bites the legs of the diver. – Ethiopian proverb

Those whose palm-kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble. – African proverb

Though the cheetah is fierce, it does not devour its cubs. – Ethiopian proverb

Thought breaks the heart. – Efik proverb

Three things that a man must know to survive: what is too much for him, what is too little, and what is fitting. – African proverb

Time destroys all things. – Nigerian Proverb

To have no enemies is the same as having wealth. – African proverb

To lead is not to run roughshod over people – Kenyan Proverb

To neglect one’s ancestors would bring ill-fortune and failure in life. – African Proverb

To run is not necessarily to arrive. – Swahili Proverb

To stay together is to know each other. – Kikuyu proverb

To try and to fail is not laziness. – Sierra Leonean Proverb

Tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today. – African proverb

Too much discussion leads to a quarrel. – Ivorian Proverb

Too much speed breeds delay. – Shona proverb

Traveling is learning. – African proverb

Trouble has its reward. – Ovambo proverb

True teaching is not accumulation of knowledge, it is an awakening of consciousness. – African proverb

Trying again and again is better than stopping half-way. – Ovambo proverb

Two ants do not fail to pull one grasshopper. – African proverb

Two blind men cannot lead each other. – Shona proverb

Two bulls cannot live in one stable. – Swahili proverb

Two cocks do not crow from the same roof. – Annang proverb

Two experts are never on good terms. – Shona proverb

Ugliness with a good character is better than beauty. – Hausa proverb

Ugliness with a good character is better than beauty. – Nigerian Proverb

Unity is strength, division is weakness. – Swahili Proverb

Unity is strength, separation weakness. – Annang proverb

Wake up your sleeping soul. Why give yourself to death when you could be immortal. – African proverb

Walk like you have 3000 ancestors walking behind you. – African proverb

War among grasshoppers delights the crow. – Swahili proverb

Water does not boil if taken away from fire. – Swahili proverb

Water that has been begged for does not quench the thirst. – Soga proverb

We are what our thinking makes us. – Nigerian Proverb

We desire to bequeath two things to our children; the first one is roots, the other one is wings. – Sudanese proverb

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors we borrow it from our children. – Haida Proverb

We go quickly where we are sent when we take interest in the journey. – Wolof proverb

We share the same sun but not our homes. – Kalenjin proverb

We should put out fire while it is still small. – Kenyan Proverb

We should talk while we are still alive. – Kenyan proverb

Wealth diminishes with usage; learning increases with use. – Nigerian proverb

Wealth is like hair in the nose: it hurts to be separated whether from a little or from a lot. – Malagasy Proverb

What has horns must not be hid in a sack. – Zulu Proverb

What is bad luck for one man is good luck for another. – Ashanti Proverb

What is inflated too much will break into fragments. – Ethiopian Proverb

What makes the road long is laziness to go. – Bemba proverb

What the child says, he has heard at home. – Wolof proverb

What the people think cannot be denied. – Basakata proverb

What women say is nonsense; but he who does not listen in is a fool. – Bemba proverb

What you give you get, ten times over. – Yoruba Proverb

What you learn is what you die with. – African proverb

Whatever accomplishment you boast of in the world, there is someone better than you. – African proverb

When a fire starts from the shrine, no precaution can be possible. – Ugandan proverb

When a fish rots, the head stinks first. – Ghanaian Proverb

When a fool is being cursed, he thinks he is being praised. – African proverb

When a king reigns, it is thanks to the people when a river sings, it is thanks to the stones. – African Proverb

When a king’s palace burns down, the re-built palace is more beautiful. – Yoruba proverb

When a lion roars, he does not catch game. – Acholi proverb

When a man dies, a library burns to the ground with him. – African proverb

When a man has no one to play with he plays with his enemy. – Annang proverb

When a man is disliked he is blamed for all kinds of things. – Ashanti proverb

When a man is stung, he doesn’t destroy all beehives. – African proverb

When a man says yes, his chi (personal god) says yes also. – African proverb

When a man thinks he is too big or great to fall, it only takes a little thing to bring him down. – African proverb

When a monkey becomes old, it is fed by its young ones. – Bemba proverb

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. – African Proverb

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

When a thing becomes perfect, it soon fades. – Moroccan Proverb

When a woman is hungry, she says, Roast something for the children that they might eat. – Ashanti Proverb

When building a house, don’t measure the timbers in the forest. – Liberian proverb

When cobwebs unite, they can tie up a lion. – African Proverb

When elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers. – African proverb

When elephants fight, the grass gets hurt. – Swahili proverb

When God cooks, you don’t see smoke . – African Proverb

When I think of the others’ misfortunes, I forget mine. – Algerian Proverb

When one would climb a tree, one begins from the bottom and not from the top. – Ashanti proverb

When sleeping woman wakes, mountains move. – African proverb

When spider webs unite, they tie up a lion. – Ethiopian proverb

When the baby grows, the crying changes. – African proverb 

When the baobab tree has fallen, the goats start climbing on it. – Malian Proverb

When the bird which flies in the sky is about to die, its legs usually point to the ground. – African proverb

When the drumbeat changes, the dance changes. – Hausa proverb

When the food is cooked there is no need to wait before eating it. – Kikuyu Proverb

When the heart acts, the body is its slave. – African proverb

When the hunter returns and is holding mushrooms, don’t ask him about how his hunt went. – Guinean proverb

When the hyena drinks, the dog can only look on. – Hausa proverb

When the lion cannot find meat, it eats grass. – Kenyan Proverb

When the moon is not full, the stars shine more brightly. – Buganda Proverb of Uganda

When the moon is shining the cripple becomes hungry for a walk. – African proverb

When the mother goat breaks into the yam store her kid watches her. – Igbo Proverb

When the mouse laughs at the cat, there is a hole nearby. – Nigerian proverb

When the mouth stumbles, it is worse than the foot. – African proverb

When the music changes, so does the dance. – Niger Proverbs

When the powerful sit, they are none the weaker. – Ugandan Proverb

When the right hand washed the left hand and the left hand washes the right, both hands become clean. – African proverb

When the roots of a tree begin to decay, it spreads death to the branches. – Nigerian proverb

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

When the sun is shining, bask. – African proverb

When the webs of the spider join, they can trap a lion. – Ethiopian proverb

When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you. – African proverb

When there is nothing to eat but corn, rice is a luxury. – Hausa proverb

When two elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled. – African proverb

When you are rich, relation exists; if you are poor, relations desist. – Annang proverb

When you are rich, you are hated; when you are poor, you are despised. – Ghanaian Proverb

When you befriend a chief remember that he sits on a rope. – Ugandan proverb

When you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him. – Ghanian Proverb

When you have bad thoughts about your life then it will come to pass. – African proverb

When you mention the person with one eye, the one with the eye problem reacts. – Kenyan Proverb

When you pray, move your feet. – African proverb

When you show the moon to a child, it sees only your finger. – Zambian proverb

When your gold dust is becoming finished, then you become prudent. – Ashanti proverb

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

When your neighbour’s horse falls into a pit, you should not rejoice at it, for your own child may fall into it too. – Yoruba Proverb

When your wife is a woman of no morals, then she might as well be someone else’s harlot. – Ashanti proverb

Whenever man goes dwell his character goes with him. – African proverb

Where a woman rules, stream run uphill. – Ethiopian Proverb

Where error gets to, correction cannot reach. – Ghanaian Proverb

Where there is negotiation, there is hope for agreement. – Somalian proverb

Where there is no shame, there is no honor. – Ethiopian Proverb

Where water is boss, the land must obey. – African Proverb

Where you will sit when you are old shows where you stood in youth. – Yoruba Proverb

Whether you touch it, or you eat it, it’s still garlic. – Hareri proverb

While the sun is shining, bask in it! – Malawian Proverb

Who ever suggested that rats should become chiefs? – Ugandan Proverb

Whoever sees mucus in the nose of the king is the one who cleans it. – Yoruba proverb

Women are part of the origin of life’s big mystery on earth; they know the secret of a good life. – Kuba Proverb

Women have no chief. – Acholi Proverb

Wood already touched by fire is not hard to set alight. – African Proverb

Words are silver, but answers are gold. – Swahili proverb

Work done in the right way rewards both the employer and the employee. – Borana (Kenya) Proverb

Work is good, as long as you don’t forget to live. – Rwandan proverb

Worms that live on mahogany do not know that dates are sweet. – Fulani proverb

Yesterday and the day before yesterday are not like today. – Swahili proverb

You always learn a lot more when you lose than when you win. – African proverb

You are beautiful, but learn to work. For you cannot eat your beauty. – Congolese Proverb

You are sharp on one side like a knife. – Zulu proverb

You can learn a lot about someone by observing him when he is hungry. – Zambian proverb

You can not tell a hungry child that you gave him food yesterday. – Zimbabwean Proverb

You can outdistance that which is running after you, but not what is running inside you. – Rwandan proverb

You can outrun what is running after you, but not what is running inside of you. – Rwandan proverb

You can tell a ripe corn by its look. – African Proverb

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

You cannot climb to the mountain top without crushing some weeds with your feet. – Ugandan Proverb

You cannot force water up a hill. – Maasai Proverb

You cannot name a child that is not born. – African proverb

You cannot tell a hungry child that you gave him food yesterday. – African proverb

You cannot turn the wind, so turn the sail. – African proverb

You do not teach the paths of the forest to an old gorilla. – African Proverb

You don’t need a light to see someone you know intimately at night. – Ghanaian Proverb

You have little power over what’s not yours. – Zimbabwean proverb

You must act as if it is impossible to fail. – African proverb

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

You must judge a man by the work of his hands. – African proverb

You should not hoard your money and die of hunger. – African proverb

You think of water when the well is empty. – African proverb 

You won’t last long, so leave a legacy. – Somali proverb

Your neighbour knows you are alive but only you know how you are living. – Oromo proverb

African Proverbs

On Wisdom

Wisdom does not come overnight. – Somali proverb

Wisdom is like a baobab tree; no one individual can embrace it. – Akan proverb

Wisdom is like fire. People take it from others. – Hema (DRC) proverb

Wisdom is not in the eye, but in the head. – Kanuri proverb

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

Wisdom is wealth. – Swahili

A child lacks wisdom, and some say that what is important is that the child does not die; what kills more surely than lack of wisdom? – Yoruba proverb

A man who uses force is afraid of reasoning. – Kenyan proverb

A warning to the wise is a blessing, to the fool an insult. – Swahili proverb

A wise man doesn’t know everything—only a fool does. – African proverb

A wise man never knows all, only fools know everything. – African proverb

A wise man who knows proverbs, reconciles difficulties.  – Yoruba proverb

A wise person is the one who listens to advice. – Kikuyu proverb

A wise person will always find a way. – Tanzanian proverb

If two wise men always agree, then there is no need for one of them. – Zambian Proverb

If you are filled with pride, then you will have no room for wisdom. – Tanzanian Proverb

In the moment of crisis, the wise build bridges and the foolish build dams. – Nigerian proverb

Knowledge without wisdom is like water in the sand. – Guinean proverb

Nobody is born wise. – African proverb

One head does not contain all the wisdom. – Ghana proverb

One who causes others misfortune also teaches them wisdom. – African proverb

Only a wise person can solve a difficult problem. – Akan proverb

Other people’s wisdom prevents the king from being called a fool. – Nigerian Proverb

Silence is the best answer to the unwise. – African proverb

Stupidity does not tolerate wisdom. – Ovambo proverb

The fool speaks, the wise man listens. – Ethiopian proverb

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

The mouth of an elder may stink but out of it comes wisdom. – Tonga proverb

The owl is the wisest of all bird because the more it sees, the less it talks. – African proverb

The vultures would not land at the village in which there is a wise old man. – Meru Proverb

The wise create proverbs for fools to learn, not to repeat. – African Proverb

The wise traveler leaves his heart at home. – African Proverb

When the great lord passes, the wise peasant bows deeply and silently farts. – Ethiopian proverb

Words are spoken with their shells; let the wise man come to shuck them. – Mossi proverb

You are given some stew and you add water, you must be wiser than the cook. – Yoruba proverb

On Education

He who learns, teaches. – Ethiopian proverb

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

Advice is a stranger; if he’s welcome he stays for the night; if not, he leaves the same day. – Malagasy Proverb

By crawling a child learns to stand. – African proverb

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. – African Proverb

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

By trying often, the monkey learns to jump from the tree. – Buganda proverb

Ears that do not listen to advice, accompany the head when it is chopped off. – African Proverb

If you close your eyes to facts, you will learn through accidents. – African proverb

Instruction in youth is like engraving in stone. – Moroccan Proverb

Learning expands great souls. – Namibian proverb

One who causes others misfortune also teaches them wisdom. – African proverb

To get lost is to learn the way. – African proverb

Traveling is learning. – Kenyan Proverb

Wealth, if you use it, comes to an end; learning, if you use it, increases. – Swahili proverb

What you help a child to love can be more important than what you help him to learn. – African proverb

What you learn is what you die with. – African proverb

When you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him. – Ashanti Proverb

Where there are experts there will be no lack of learners. – Swahili Proverb

You always learn a lot more when you lose than when you win. – African proverb

You do not teach the paths of the forest to an old gorilla. – Congolese proverb

You learn how to cut down trees by cutting them down. – Bateke proverb

On Peace and Leadership

Peace does not make a good ruler. – Botswana proverb

Peace is costly but it is worth the expense. – Kenyan proverb

Leadership comes from God. – Kenyan Proverb

Leadership does not depend on age. – Namibian Proverb

A clever king is the brother of peace. – South African Proverb

A fight between grasshoppers is a joy to the crow. – Lesotho proverb

A large chair does not make a king. – Sudanese proverb

A leader who does not take advice is not a leader. – Kenyan proverb

A word of peace redeems a crime. – Ovambo proverb

Because he lost his reputation, he lost a kingdom. – Ethiopian proverb

Do not forget what is to be a sailor because of being a captain yourself. – Tanzanian proverb

He who fears the sun will not become chief. – Ugandan proverb

He who is destined for power does not have to fight for it. – Ugandan proverb

If a leader loves you, he makes sure you build your house on rock. – Ugandan Proverb

If the cockroach wants to rule over the chicken, then it must hire the fox as a body-guard. – Sierra Leone proverb

If you can’t resolve your problems in peace, you can’t solve them with war. – Somalian proverb

If you overtake a leader, you break your neck. – Ugandan Proverb

Milk and honey have different colors, but they share the same house peacefully. – African proverb

Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far. – West African proverb

There can be no peace without understanding. – Senegalese proverb

War has no eyes. – Swahili saying

When a king has good counselors, his reign is peaceful. – Ashanti 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

Where a woman rules, streams run uphill. – Ethiopian proverb

Without a leader, black ants are confused. – Ugandan proverb

African Proverbs

On Unity and Community

Unity is the real thing. – Kenyan Proverb

Unity is strength, division is weakness. – Swahili proverb

A single bracelet does not jingle. – Congolese proverb

A single stick may smoke, but it will not burn. – African proverb

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

Cross the river in a crowd and the crocodile won’t eat you. – African proverb

If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. – African proverb

It takes a village to raise a child. – African proverb

Many hands make light work. – Haya (Tanzania) proverb

Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable. – Bondei proverb

Two ants do not fail to pull one grasshopper. – Tanzanian proverb

Where there are many, nothing goes wrong. – Swahili proverb

On 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 family tie is like a tree, it can bend but it cannot break. – African proverb

A united family eats from the same plate. – Baganda 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

He who earns calamity, eats it with his family. – African proverb

Home affairs are not talked about on the public square. – African proverb

If I am in harmony with my family, that’s success. – Ute proverb

If relatives help each other, what evil can hurt them? – African 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

There is no fool who is disowned by his family. – African proverb

When brothers fight to the death, a stranger inherits their father’s estate. – Ibo proverb

On Friendship

A close friend can become a close enemy. – African proverb

A friend is someone you share the path with. – African proverb

A small house will hold a hundred friends. – African proverb

Bad friends will prevent you from having good friends. – Gabon proverb

Between true friends even water drunk together is sweet enough. – African proverb

Hold a true friend with both hands. – 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

Return to old watering holes for more than water; friends and dreams are there to meet you. – African proverb

Show me your friend and I will show you your character. – African proverb

The friends of our friends are our friends. – Congolese proverb

There is no fool who is disowned by his family. – African proverb

To be without a friend is to be poor indeed. – Tanzanian proverb

On Finance

Money can’t talk, yet it can make lies look true. – South Africa

Money is not the medicine against death. – Ghana

Money is sharper than the sword. – Ashanti

Money knows no day on which it is not welcome. – Shona proverb

A man’s wealth may be superior to him. – Cameroon

A real family eats the same cornmeal. – Bayombe

By labor comes wealth. – Yoruba

Do not let what you cannot do tear from your hands what you can. – Ashanti

Dogs do not actually prefer bones to meat; it is just that no one ever gives them meat. – Akan

Greed loses what it has gained. – Africa

Having a good discussion is like having riches – Kenya

He who loves money must labor. – Mauritania

He who receives a gift does not measure. – Africa

If ten cents does not go out, it does not bring in one thousand dollars. – Ghana

If your cornfield is far from your house, the birds will eat your corn. – Congo

It is no shame at all to work for money. – Africa

Knowledge is better than riches. – Cameroon

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

Make some money but don’t let money make you. – Tanzania

Much wealth brings many enemies. – Swahili

One cannot both feast and become rich. – Ashanti

One cannot count on riches. – Somalia

Poverty is slavery. – Somalia

The leech that does not let go even when it is filled, dies on the dry land. – African proverb

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

The rich are always complaining. – Zulu

The wealth which enslaves the owner isn’t wealth. – Yoruba

There is no one who became rich because he broke a holiday, no one became fat because he broke a fast. – Ethiopia

Wealth diminishes with usage; learning increases with use. – Nigeria

What you give you get, ten times over. – Yoruba

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

With wealth one wins a woman. – Uganda

You become wise when you begin to run out of money. – Ghana

You must act as if it is impossible to fail. – Ashanti

You should not hoard your money and die of hunger. – Ghana

On Beauty

Beauty is not sold and eaten. – Nigerian Proverb

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

Beautiful from behind, ugly in front. – Uganda Proverb

Beautiful words don’t put porridge in the pot. – Botswana Proverb

A beautiful one hurts the heart. – African Proverb

A beautiful thing is never perfect. – Egyptian Proverb

A chicken with beautiful plumage does not sit in a corner. – African Proverb

A pretty basket does not prevent worries. – Congolese Proverb

A pretty face and fine clothes do not make character. – Congolese Proverb

A woman who pursues a man for sex loses her spiritual beauty. – African Proverb

A woman’s polite devotion is her greatest beauty. – African Proverb

An ugly child of your own is more to you than a beautiful one belonging to your neighbor. – Ganda Proverb

Anyone who sees beauty and does not look at it will soon be poor. – Yoruba Proverb

Despite the beauty of the moon, sun and the stars, the sky also has a threatening thunder and striking lightening. – African Proverb

Dress up a stick and it’ll be a beautiful bride. – Egyptian Proverb

Even the colors of a chameleon are for survival not beauty. – African Proverb

Every woman is beautiful until she speaks. – Zimbabwean 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

Having beauty doesn’t mean understanding the perseverance of marriage. – African Proverb

He who marries a beauty marries trouble. – Nigerian Proverb

If there is character, ugliness becomes beauty; if there is none, beauty becomes ugliness. – Nigerian Proverb

If you find Miss This Year” beautiful, then you’ll find Miss Next Year” even more so. – Nigerian Proverb

It is only a stupid cow that rejoices at the prospect of being taken to a beautiful abattoir. – African Proverb

It’s those ugly caterpillars that turn into beautiful butterflies after seasons. – African 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

One who plants grapes by the road side, and one who marries a pretty woman, share the same problem. – Ethiopian Proverb

Roosters’ tail feathers: pretty but always behind. – Malagasy 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

She is like a road – pretty, but crooked. – Cameroonian Proverb

The beauty of a woman becomes useless if there is no one to admire it. – African Proverb

The cook does not have to be a beautiful woman. – Shona Proverb

The most beautiful fig may contain a worm. – Zulu Proverb

The one who loves an unsightly person is the one who makes him beautiful. – Ganda Proverb

The skin of the leopard is beautiful, but not his heart. – Baluba proverb

The surface of the water is beautiful, but it is no good to sleep on. – Ghanaian Proverb

There are many colorful flowers on the path of life, but the prettiest have the sharpest thorns. – African Proverb

There is always a winner even in a monkey’s beauty contest. – African Proverb

There is no beauty but the beauty of action. – Moroccan Proverb

Three things cause sorrow to flee; water, green trees, and a beautiful face. – Moroccan Proverb

Ugliness with a good character is better than beauty. – Nigerian 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

Why they like an ugly person takes long for a beautiful person to know. – African Proverb

You are beautiful because of your possessions. – Baguirmi Proverb

You are beautiful, but learn to work, for you cannot eat your beauty. – Congolese Proverb

Youth is beauty, even in cattle. – Egyptian Proverb

On Love and Marriage

Love does not choose the blade of grass on which it falls. – Zulu proverb

Love doesn’t listen to rumors. – Ghana proverb

Love doesn’t rely on physical features. – Lesotho proverb

Love for something makes a man blind and deaf. – Sudan proverb

Love has to be shown by deeds not words. – Swahili proverb

Love is a despot who spares no one. – Namibian proverb

Love is a painkiller. – African proverb

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

Love never gets lost it’s only kept. – African proverb

Love, like rain, does not choose the grass on which it falls. – South Africa proverb

Loving someone that does not love you is like loving the rain that falls in the forest. – Western African proverb

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

A happy man marries the girl he loves, but a happier man loves the girl he marries. – African proverb

A letter from the heart can be read on the face. – Kenya proverb

Coffee and love taste best when hot. – Ethiopian proverb

Do not treat your loved one like a swinging door: you are fond of it but you push it back and forth. – Madagascar proverb

Don’t be so in love that you can’t tell when it’s raining. – Madagascar proverb

Don’t try to make someone hate the person he loves. For he will go on loving but he will hate you. – Senegal proverb

Even as the archer loves the arrow that flies, so too he loves the bow that remains constant in his hands. – Nigeria proverb

Happiness requires something to do, something to love and something to hope for. – Swahili Proverb

He who loves money must labor. – Mauritanian proverb

He who loves the vase loves also what is inside. – African proverb

He who loves, love you with your dirt. – Uganda proverb

If a woman doesn’t love you, she calls you brother. – Côte d’Ivoire proverb

If anyone makes you laugh, it is not always because they love you. – Kenya proverb

If love is a sickness, patience is the remedy. – Cameroonian Proverb

If the full moon loves you, why worry about the stars? – Tunisia proverb

If you are ugly you must either learn to dance or make love. – Zimbabwean Proverb

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

It is better to be loved than feared. – Sierra Leone proverb

It is difficult for two long-nosed lovers to kiss. – African Proverb

It’s much easier to fall in love than to stay in love. – African proverb

Let your love be like the misty rain, coming softly but flooding the river. – Liberia proverb

Live patiently in the world know that those who hate you are more numerous than those who love you. – African Proverb

Never marry a woman who has bigger feet than you. – Mozambique proverb

One does not love if one does not accept from others. – Nigerian proverb

One thread for the needle, one love for the heart. – Sudanese proverb

One who loves the vase, loves also what is inside. – Tanzania/Kenya proverb

One who loves you, loves you with your dirt. – African Proverb

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

Our love is like the misty rain that falls softly, but floods the river. – African proverb

Pretend you are dead and you will see who really loves you. – African Proverb

So many little things makes a man love a woman in a BIG way. – Ghanaian Proverb

The betrothed of good is evil the betrothed of life is death the betrothed of love is divorce. – Malawian Proverb

The one who loves an unsightly person is the one who make him beautiful. – African proverb

The quarrel of lovers is the renewal of love. – Morocco proverb

The way to the beloved isn’t thorny. – Cameroon (Duala) proverb

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

To love the king is not bad, but a king who loves you is better. – Wolof proverb

What you help a child to love can be more important than what you help him to learn. – African proverb

When one is in love, a cliff becomes a meadow. – Ethiopia proverb

Where there is love there is no darkness. – Burundian proverb

You know who you love but you can’t know who loves you. – Nigeria proverb

African Proverbs

On Patience

Patience can cook a stone. – African proverb

Patience is wealth to its possessor. – Hausa proverb

Patience is the key which solves all problems. – Sudanese proverb

Patience is the mother of a beautiful child. – Bantu proverb

Patience puts a crown on the head. – Ugandan proverb

Patience attracts happiness; it brings near that which is far. – Swahili proverb

A patient man will eat ripe fruit. – African proverb

A patient person never misses a thing. – Swahili proverb

Always being in a hurry does not prevent death, neither does going slowly prevent living. – Ibo proverb

At the bottom of patience one finds heaven. – African proverb

Hurry, hurry has no blessings. – Swahili proverb

If you do not have patience you cannot make beer. – Ovambo proverb

To run is not necessarily to arrive. – Swahili proverb

On Food

Food gained by fraud tastes sweet to a man, but he ends up with gravel in his mouth. – African Proverb

Food you will not eat you do not boil. – African Proverb

A bad cook also has his/her share of the bad food. – African Proverb

A dog knows the places he is thrown food. – Acholi Proverb

A healthy person who begs for food is an insult to a generous farmer. – Ghanaian 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 patient that can swallow food makes the nurse doubtful. – Malagasy Proverb

A spider’s cobweb isn’t only its sleeping spring but also its food trap. – African proverb

An abundance of food at your neighbour’s will not satisfy your hunger. – Bayaka Proverb

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

Cooked food is not sold for goats. – Kikuyu Proverb

Don’t take another mouthful before you have swallowed what is in your mouth. – Malagasy Proverb

Eat when the food is ready; speak when the time is right. – Ethiopian Proverb

Even the best cooking pot will not produce food. – African Proverb

Fine words do not produce food. – Nigerian Proverb

Good words are food, bad words poison. – Malagasy Proverb

Happiness is as good as food. – Maasai Proverb

He who eats another mans food will have his own food eaten by others. – Swahili Proverb

However little food we have, we’ll share it even if it’s only one locust. – Malagasy Proverb

If I could see your face, I would not need food. – Amharic Proverb

If you are looking for a fly in your food it means that you are full. – South African Proverb

If you carry the egg basket do not dance. – Ambede proverb

If you find no fish, you have to eat bread. – Ghanaian Proverb

If you give bad food to your stomach, it drums for you to dance. – African Proverb

If you see a man in a gown eating with a man in rags, the food belongs to the latter. – Fulani Proverb

If you watch your pot, your food will not burn. – Mauritanian, Nigerian, and Niger Proverb

Man is like a pepper, till you have chewed it you do not know how hot it is. – Haussa Proverb

Nature gave us two cheeks instead of one to make it easier to eat hot food. – Ghanaian Proverb

No one gets a mouthful of food by picking between another person’s teeth. – Igbo Proverb

No partridge scratches the ground in search of food for another. – Xhosa Proverb

One person is a thin porridge; two or three people are a lump of ugali. – Kuria Proverb

One shares food not words. – Somali Proverb

One spoon of soup in need has more value than a pot of soup when we have an abundance of food. – Angolan Proverb

One who eats alone cannot discuss the taste of the food with others. – African Proverb

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

The chicken that digs for food will not sleep hungry. – Bayombe Proverb

The chicken that digs for food will not sleep hungry. – Congolese Proverb

The food eaten first lasts longest in the stomach. – Kikuyu Proverb

The food that is in the mouth is not yet in the belly. – Kikuyu Proverb

The food which is prepared has no master. – Malagasy proverb

The forest not only hides man’s enemies but its full of man’s medicine, healing power and food. – African Proverb

The forest provides food to the hunter after he is utterly exhausted. – Zimbabwean Proverb

The goat says: Where there is blood, there is plenty of food. – Ghanaian Proverb

The grasshopper which is always near its mother eats the best food. – Ghanaian Proverb

The hyena with a cub does not consume all the available food. – Akamba Proverb

The impotent man does not eat spicy foods. – Congolese Proverb

The man who counts the bits of food he swallows is never satisfied. – African Proverb

The man who has bread to eat does not appreciate the severity of a famine. – Yoruba Proverb

The mouth is stupid after eating it forgets who gave it the food. – African Proverb

They ate our food, and forgot our names. – Tunisian Proverb

Things are to be tried, an old lady cooked stones and they produced soup. – Zimbabwean Proverb

Those who are at one regarding food are at one in life. – Malawian Proverb

War is not porridge. – Gikuyu Proverb

Water is colourless and tasteless but you can live on it longer than eating food. – African Proverb

What one won’t eat by itself, one will eat when mixed with other food. – Bantu & Lamba Proverb

When the leg does not walk, the stomach does not eat. – Mongo (Congolese) Proverb

When your luck deserts you, even cold food burns. – Zambian Proverb

Wine, women and food give gladness to the heart. – Ancient Egyptian Proverb

Words are sweet, but they never take the place of food. – Ibo proverb

You cannot tell a hungry child that you gave him food yesterday. – Zimbabwean Proverb

You cannot work for food when there is no food for work. – African Proverb

You should know what’s being cooked in the kitchen otherwise you might eat a forbidden food. – African Proverb

African Proverbs

African Proverbs and Their Meanings:

Only a fool tests the depth of a river with both feet.  – African proverb
Meaning: You don’t jump straight into a situation without thinking about it first.

Knowledge is like a garden: If it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested.  – African proverb
Meaning: If you don’t make efforts to acquire knowledge then you would not expect to have it and if you do not put the knowledge you have to use, you cannot expect to gain anything from it.

Sugarcane is sweetest at its joint.  – African proverb
Meaning: Good and sweet things of life may appear difficult to achieve but in the end, it is worth it.

If you offend, ask for a pardon; if offended forgive.  – African proverb
Meaning: This is as simple as it sounds: If you upset someone, apologise to him or her. If someone upsets you, forgive him or her because what goes around, comes around.

Don’t set sail using someone else’s star.  – African proverb
Meaning: Avoid copying someone else. Just because someone has been successful in what he/she does should not be what will make you to do the same thing and expect to be successful.

The best way to eat an elephant in your path, is to cut him up into little pieces.  – African proverb
Meaning: The best approach to solving a problem is to take it bit by bit; one at a time.

A restless feet may walk into a snake pit.  – African proverb
Meaning: If someone is busy doing nothing or is involved in what he does not know about, it is easy for him/her to get into trouble.

A chick that will grow into a cock can be spotted the very day it hatches.  – African proverb
Meaning: You can easily foresee the future of something through the character and tell-tale signs it exhibits today.

After a foolish deed comes remorse.  – African proverb
Meaning: Feeling sorry always follows a foolish act.

A man who pays respect to the great paves the way for his own greatness.  – African proverb
Meaning: What goes around, comes around so whatever you sow, you shall reap.

He who does not know one thing knows another.  – African proverb
Meaning: No one knows everything, but everyone knows something.

A roaring lion kills no one.  – African proverb
Meaning: You cannot achieve or gain anything by mere sitting around and just talking about it.

Do not call the forest that shelters you a jungle.  – African proverb
Meaning: Do not insult someone who is taking care of your responsibility or taking care of you.

When a king has good counsellors, his reign is peaceful.  – African proverb
Meaning: What defines a man is the circumstances and people around him and if they are good, he turns out good.

It takes a whole village to raise a child.  – African proverb
Meaning: The society is responsible for the moral characters it creates and everyone in a community should be responsible for helping to train a child irrespective of who the parents are; offering correction where they are needed.

If a child washes his hands he could eat with kings.  – African proverb
Meaning: If you prepare and allow yourself to be well trained when you have the opportunity, you will achieve a lot and be favoured in due course.

The Rain does not fall on one roof.  – African proverb
Meaning: Trouble comes to everyone at one time or another.

Life is like a mist or a shadow; it quickly passes by.  – African proverb
Meaning: Life is too short, and you only live it once.

Wherever a man goes to dwell, his character goes with him.  – African proverb
Meaning: What defines a man is his character which is, inseparable from him and follows him everywhere he goes.

Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped.  – African proverb
Meaning: Don’t look at your mistakes; look at what caused your mistakes, otherwise you may repeat the same mistake again.

The lizard that jumped from the high Iroko tree to the ground told it would praise itself if no one else did.  – African proverb
Meaning: This is one of the most known African proverbs on leadership. It means that a person must always stay happy about his or her achievements even if nobody cares.

Lizard that ruined its mother’s burial, what did it expect others to do?  – African proverb
Meaning: This is a famous African proverb about life and death. In African culture, mother’s funeral is an individual matter. None cares the way you plan it. This saying means that if you disorder any activity that worries you, you should not believe others to do otherwise. Nigerian people use this proverb in case they want to caution somebody about his approach to planning.

He who sees an old hag squatting should leave her alone, who knows how she breathes?  – African proverb
Meaning: You should never interfere in someone issues particularly when you do not know anything about them.

Anger against a brother is felt on the flesh, not in the bone.  – African proverb
Meaning: You should forget and forgive anything your relatives did to you.

Maize bears fruits once and dies because it is not rooted into the ground.  – African proverb
Meaning: You will never get to the top and stay prosperous without a good foundation.

He who will swallow ‘udala’ seed must consider the size of his stomach.  – African proverb
Meaning: ‘Udala’ seed is an apple seed. It is never digested in the stomach. This proverb means that you must always think about all possible consequences of your actions.

The fly that has no one to advise him, follows a corpse into the grave.  – African proverb
Meaning: You will fall into a trap if you do not have good advice or refuse to take one.

When a handshake passes the elbow, it becomes another thing.  – African proverb
Meaning: It is one of the common African proverbs about friendship. It means that you should always be watchful when an unfamiliar person is too acquainted or mind when you are being made fun of.

He likes burial ram’s meat, but recovers when sickness visits him.  – African proverb
Meaning: Someone who wants other people to spend for him but is indisposed to spend.

White anti chews ‘Igbegulu’ (palm stem) because it is lying on the ground, let it climb the palm tree and eat it.
Meaning: ‘Igbegulu’ is a palm stem. The proverb tells about a situation when people will abuse you when they do not realize who you are and find yourself in everyone’s mist.

When a mighty tree falls, the birds are scattered into the bush.  – African proverb
Meaning: It is another famous African proverb on leadership. When a great leader passes away, many people lose their way in life if they do not find a successor.

No matter how long a log stays in water, it does not become a crocodile.  – African proverb
Meaning: You will always be who you are regardless of how long you fake your character.

The little bird that hops off the ground and lands on anti-hill may not know it but still on the ground.  – African proverb
Meaning: You may think that you have achieved greatness, but you are yet to start. Wise people in Africa use this proverb to caution an arrogant person.

A common snake, which a man sees all alone, may become a python in his eyes.  – African proverb
Meaning: It is never enough to judge anything on one man’s version.

The very thing that killed a mother rat is always there to make sure that its young ones never open their eyes.  – African proverb
Meaning: The wicked people are at work all the time.

A boy who perseveres in asking what killed his father before he has enough strength to avenge, may be asking for his father’s fate.  – African proverb
Meaning: You should never start a battle if you are either not ready for or old enough to become a winner.

The man who belittled the sickness a monkey suffered, must ask to see the eyes which his nurse got from blowing his sick fire.  – African proverb
Meaning: Before you disrespect other people`s difficulties, always think of the effects it has both on them and their families.

When death wants to take a little dog, it prevents him from perceiving even the smell of excrement.  – African proverb
Meaning: It is another great African proverb about life and death. You will never pay attention to a wise advice when you are fated for bad luck. A man who sees a hen scattering excrement should stop it.

Who knows who will eat the leg?  – African proverb
Meaning: It is one of the most known African proverbs about marriage. Any time you see a girl misbehaving, just worn her for you never know who will marry her. It is always might be either you or a member of your family.

If that rat cannot flee enough, let it make way for tortoise.  – African proverb
Meaning: If you cannot do something, just let other people try to do it. No one has complete knowledge or power.

White fowl with beautiful feathers.  – African proverb
Meaning: This proverb tells about either thing or person that is good for nothing. A good for nothing person or thing. It is commonly used when people talk about a beautiful woman with an evil character.

Look for a dark goat first in the daytime because you may not find it at night.  – African proverb
Meaning: You should always order your goals and follow them before it is too late to accomplish them.

What an elder saw while sitting, a youth could not see it standing.  – African proverb
Meaning: Elder people always have more knowledge and wisdom than the young people.

The day I need a wife, the market is filled with mad people.  – African proverb
Meaning: When you want something, you will never get it. It is a widely used proverb depicting bad luck.

When a man makes a fence, you will know his level of wisdom.  – African proverb
Meaning: Your knowledge always reveals in your activities. 

A fowl does not forget who trim his feathers during the raining season.  – African proverb
Meaning: A person will never forget help rendered to him for the duration of hard times. Raining season in Africa has always been a difficult period for fowls since it is tough for them to hunt for food while their feathers keep growing.

To break a palm-knell nut for a fowl.  – African proverb
Meaning: This proverb is used when a person grieves in vain for something.

Send your child where he wants to go, and you will see his pace.  – African proverb
Meaning: Passion must always drive our actions.

A child’s fingers are not scalded by a piece of hot yam, which his mother puts into his hand.  – African proverb
Meaning: No matter what it is, your inheritance will never kill you.

An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb.  – African proverb
Meaning: This proverb means that your mind will judge you when you are guilty in some crime, and it is being said now.

A chick that will grow into a rooster can be spotted the very day it hatches.  – African proverb
Meaning: There is the sign to every situation where it tends to at the early stages if you look judgmentally.

A ripe melon falls by itself.  – Zimbabwe proverb
Meaning: All things happen when their times come

The dead say to each other, “Dead one”.  – Mandinka
Meaning: An analogy for a wicked person pointing out another person’s wickedness.

Even the Niger River must flow around an island.  – Hausa proverb from Nigeria
Meaning: Sometimes the strongest person must turn aside.

A student doesn’t know about master hood but a master knows about student hood.  – Mandinka proverb
Meaning: A master was once a student and cannot be fooled easily.

Sweet words lure the snake out of its cave.  – Haya (Tanzania) Proverb
Meaning: If you wish to achieve an aim, you must be tactical.

You overcame the rain, but what about the dew?  – Sumbwa (Tanzania) Proverb
Meaning: This proverb could be first of all a gentle reminder for people who may feel tempted to think that they have already achieved so much in this life that no effort is needed from them any more. Achievements are only but openings towards greater challenges. Technical achievements for instance do help greater mobility for good for people all over the world, but they raise the perilous task to protect our entire planet. As for leaders who may think they have already reached a status so high that they need no longer make any more effort ~ ~ they are forgetting that they are generating cracks from within themselves that will most certainly cause bitter disappointments.

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