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Culture

50 African Proverbs; Food for Thoughts

  1. A bird that flies off the earth and lands on an anthill is still on the ground. — Igbo proverb
  2. He that beats the drum for the mad man to dance is no better than the mad man himself. — African proverb
  3. Where water is the boss, there the land must obey. — African proverb
  4. No matter how beautiful and well-crafted a coffin might look, it will not make anyone wish for death. — African proverb
  5. When the shepherd comes home in peace, the milk is sweet. — Ethiopian proverb
  6. A spider’s cobweb isn’t only its sleeping spring but also its food trap. — African proverb
  7. If you do not have patience you cannot make beer. — Ovambo proverb
  8. He who runs after good fortune runs away from peace. — African proverb
  9. Teeth do not see poverty. — Maasai proverb
  10. You have little power over what’s not yours. — Zimbabwean proverb
  11. If you pick up one end of the stick you also pick up the other. — Ethiopian proverb
  12. Better little than too little. — Cameroonian proverb
  13. You must attend to your business with the vendor in the market, and not to the noise of the market. — Beninese proverb
  14. When you befriend a chief, remember that he sits on a rope. — Ugandan proverb
  15. The night has ears. — Maasai proverb
  16. The child you sired hasn’t sired you. — Somalian proverb
  17. A doctor who invoked a storm on his people cannot prevent his house from destruction. — Nigerian proverb
  18. An intelligent enemy is better than a stupid friend. — Senegalese proverb
  19. The young bird does not crow until it hears the old ones. — Tswana proverb
  20. If you carry the egg basket do not dance. — Ambede proverb
  21. The food which is prepared has no master. — Malagasy proverb
  22. The worlds of the elders do not lock all the doors; they leave the right door open. — Zambian proverb
  23. Even the best cooking pot will not produce food. — African proverb
  24. The child of a rat is a rat. — Malagasy proverb
  25. Where you will sit when you are old shows where you stood in youth. — Yoruba proverb
  26. He who is unable to dance says that the yard is stony. — Masai proverb
  27. You cannot name a child that is not born. — African proverb
  28. Do a good deed and throw it into the sea. — Egyptian proverb
  29. When the roots of a tree begin to decay, it spreads death to the branches. — Nigerian proverb
  30. Slander by the stream will be heard by the frogs. — Mozambican proverb
  31. A child is a child of everyone. — Sudanese proverb
  32. Even the lion, the king of the forest, protects himself against flies. — Ghanaian proverb
  33. Birds sing not because they have answers but because they have songs. — African proverb
  34. If your only tool is a hammer, you will see every problem as a nail. — Gambian proverb
  35. When you show the moon to a child, it sees only your finger. — Zambian proverb
  36. It is crooked wood that shows the best sculptor. — African proverb
  37. One who bathes willingly with cold water doesn’t feel the cold. — Fipa proverb
  38. Earth is the queen of beds. — Namibian proverb
  39. Be a mountain or lean on one. — Somali proverb
  40. A flea can trouble a lion more than a lion can trouble a flea. — Kenyan proverb
  41. Wisdom is like a baobab tree; no one individual can embrace it. — Ewe proverb
  42. The death of an elderly man is like a burning library. — Ivorian proverb
  43. Anger and madness are brothers. — African proverb
  44. Do not follow a person who is running away. — Kenyan proverb
  45. An orphaned calf licks its own back. — Kenyan proverb
  46. Even as the archer loves the arrow that flies, so too he loves the bow that remains constant in his hands. — Nigerian proverb
  47. He who burns down his house knows why ashes cost a fortune. — African proverb
  48. If you are building a house and a nail breaks, do you stop building or do you change the nail? — Rwandan proverb
  49. You cannot build a house for last year’s summer. — Ethiopian proverb
  50. When there’s no enemy within, the enemy outside can do you no harm – African proverb.

Bonus; If a Bird does not fly, it goes to bed hungry. – Akan proverb.

By Alexander Asiedu Ofori

A passionate writer, content creator and a Pan-African

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