Bantu Proverbs

Bantu are the speakers of Ntu languages, comprising several hundred indigenous ethnic groups in sub-Saharan Africa, spread over a vast area from Central Africa across the African Great Lakes to Southern Africa. Linguistically, these languages belong to the Southern Bantoid branch of Benue–Congo, one of the language families grouped within the Niger–Congo phylum.

A collection of Bantu Proverbs to inspire you. Wise Bantu sayings in the form of proverbs that have been passed down for generations.

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Bantu Proverbs

A bone does not bring itself, it is people that bring it. – Bantu Proverbs

A case is not to be decided from one mouth. – Bantu Proverbs

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

A dead man does not know where his grave is. – Bantu Proverbs

A good deed will make a good neighbor. – Bantu Proverbs

A kingdom’s strength is in mutual honor. – Bantu Proverbs

A redeemer of people is a walker with people. – Bantu Proverbs

A stick one bends while it is still green. – Bantu Proverbs

A thief does not like to be robbed. – Bantu Proverbs

Map of the major Bantu languages (shown in purple), with the non-Bantu Southern Bantoid languages indicated in violet (northwestern corner)

A woman’s clothes are the price her husband pays for peace. – Bantu Proverbs

Adjoining houses always burn. – Bantu Proverbs

Away from home the girl picks forbidden fruit. – Bantu Proverbs

Chieftanship is not infectious. – Bantu Proverbs

Cunning comes to an end, what remains is folly. – Bantu Proverbs

Cut of the sick part while it is still small. – Bantu Proverbs

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

Days are many, what is one is life. – Bantu Proverbs

Days cannot be tied in a bundle. – Bantu Proverbs

Earth is like a prison: we all go in through the same door, but we stay in different cells. – Bantu Proverbs

Even if we eat, earth will eventually enter our mouth. – Bantu Proverbs

Even if you are cunning, you will not tie water up in a bale of grass. – Bantu Proverbs

Even if your bee-hive has no honey in it, you shouldn’t break it up. – Bantu Proverbs

Every beast roars in its own den. – Bantu Proverbs

He was entrapped by the evening, it has cost him his marriage. – Bantu Proverbs

Hunger has no friend. – Bantu Proverbs

The bitter heart eats its owner. – Bantu Proverb

It is better to have no law than not enforcing it. – Bantu Proverbs

It is the grass that knows where the snake goes. – Bantu Proverbs

Just one by one white hairs have come, and thus have they grown. – Bantu Proverbs

Mother carry me, and I tomorrow will carry you. – Bantu Proverbs

Mr. Not-present was the brave man. – Bantu Proverbs

No man can paddle two canoes at the same time. – Bantu Proverbs

One doesn’t follow a wild beast into its lair. – Bantu Proverbs

One mouth doesn’t taste the beer. – Bantu Proverbs

Bantu Proverbs

Only heaven can see the back of a sparrow. – Bantu Proverbs

Patience is the mother of a beautiful child. – Bantu Proverbs

People get to know one another when traveling. – Bantu Proverbs

Respect a little child, and let it respect you. – Bantu Proverbs

Stroke your dog and he will steal eggs. – Bantu Proverbs

The bitter heart eats its owner. – Bantu Proverbs

The bull should be taken by the horns, a man at his word. – Bantu Proverbs

The cabin of a loved one is never too far away. – Bantu Proverbs

The earth is a beehive; we all enter by the same door but live in different cells. – Bantu Proverbs

The egg teaches the chicken how to breed. – Bantu Proverbs

The bitter heart eats its owner. – Bantu Proverb

The eye never forgets what the heart has seen. – Bantu Proverbs

The horizon will not disappear as you run towards it. – Bantu Proverbs

The hunter who always comes home with meat is a thief. – Bantu Proverbs

The insolence of shortness is to stretch itself big. – Bantu Proverbs

The judge also dies. – Bantu Proverbs

The most stupid chicken always challenges the wildcat. – Bantu Proverbs

The owner of the skin is the one to tan it. – Bantu Proverbs

The power of the crocodile is in the water. – Bantu Proverbs

The road doesn’t tell the traveler what lies ahead. – Bantu Proverbs

The tortoise stores its wisdom in his shell. – Bantu Proverbs

The wise are as rare as eagles that fly high in the sky. – Bantu Proverbs

There are forty kinds of lunacy, but only one kind of common sense. – Bantu Proverbs

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

They are happy, the free men that have their fathers. – Bantu Proverbs

Visitors’ footfalls are like medicine; they heal the sick. – Bantu Proverbs

We celebrated at the wax door, and all the time the honeycomb was empty within. – Bantu Proverbs

Bantu Proverbs

What is not bitter is good to eat. – Bantu Proverbs

What makes the drum pleasing is the song. – Bantu Proverbs

What nature gives us is not refused. – Bantu Proverbs

What one won’t eat by itself, one will eat when mixed with other food. – Bantu Proverbs

When there is on a red-hot hoe, it is not grasped. – Bantu Proverbs

Whenever I work hard for other people, I always sleep on an empty stomach. – Bantu Proverbs

Where there is a friend, one does not have to call, he will come of his own accord. – Bantu Proverbs

Who suffers from diarrhea, is not afraid of the dark. – Bantu Proverbs

Words in conversation are like beans, one breaks them off where they are ripe. – Bantu Proverbs

Work is good provided you do not forget to live. – Bantu Proverbs

You do not teach a giraffe to run. – Bantu Proverbs

You take a bull by the horns and a man by his words. – Bantu Proverbs

Young man, countries practice witchcraft on one another. – Bantu Proverbs

Your friend, one doesn’t stare at his forehead, one stares at his stomach. – Bantu Proverbs

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