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30 African Proverbs You Should Know


Growing up African, you may have had an African adage tossed your direction more than once from either your folks, aunties, cousins, uncle or grandparents. Honestly, now and again, they are charming, fun and smart. Different circumstances, not really.

So here are a few African proverbs you weren’t aware you needed to hear at least once in your life…the good and the bad, in all their glory

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

2. A hunter who has only one arrow does not shoot with careless aim.

3. He who goes to sleep with an itching anus wakes up with smelly fingers.

4. It is not hunger that makes a cat to be smaller than a tiger: It is its nature.

5. The frown on the face of the goat will not stop it from being taken to the market.

6. Birds sing not because they have answers but because they have songs.

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

8. A person who sells eggs should not start a fight in the market.

9. When you climb the mountain and reach the top, do not forget the branches shrubs that helped your footing.

10. The child of a rat is a rat.

11. The girl with stars in her eyes will shine like the moonlight.

12. A flea can trouble a lion more than a lion can trouble a flea.

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13. Where there is honey, there are bound to be ants.

14. The death of an elderly man is like a burning library.

15. An intelligent enemy is better than a stupid friend.

16. The night has ears.

17. Eneke the bird says that since men have learned to shoot without missing, he has learned to fly without perching.

18. It is the fear of what tomorrow may bring that makes the tortoise carry his house along with him wherever he goes.

19.  A doctor who invoked a storm on his people cannot prevent his house from destruction. 20. Be a mountain or lean on one.

21. Do not follow a person who is running away.

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

23. Wisdom is like a baobab tree; no one individual can embrace it.

24. The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the next best time is now.

25. Even as the archer loves the arrow that flies, so he too loves the bow that remains constant in his hands.

26. He who burns down his house knows why ashes cost a fortune.

27. Until the lions have their historians, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter. 28. The fool speaks, the wise man listens.

29. Peace is costly but it is worth the expense.

30. A naked man will often laugh at someone with torn clothes

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