African Proverbs


Learning expands great souls.

~ Namibian proverb

To get lost is to learn the way.

~ African proverb

By crawling a child learns to stand.

~ African proverb

Wisdom is wealth.

~ Swahili

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

~ Akan proverb

The fool speaks, the wise man listens.

~ Ethiopian proverb

Wisdom does not come overnight.

~ Somali proverb

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

~ Cameroon proverb

One who causes others misfortune also teaches them wisdom.

~ African proverb

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

~Malagasy Proverb

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

~ Swahili proverb

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

~ Buganda proverb

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

~ African proverb

If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven't spent a night with a mosquito.

~African Proverb

Where there are experts there will be no lack of learners.

~Swahili Proverb

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

~Congolese proverb

What you learn is what you die with.

~ African proverb

Instruction in youth is like engraving in stone.

~Moroccan Proverb

One who causes others misfortune also teaches them wisdom.

~ African proverb

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

~ Akan proverb

He who refuses to obey cannot command.

~ Kenyan proverb

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

~ African proverb

You learn how to cut down trees by cutting them down.

~ Bateke proverb

Wealth diminishes with usage; learning increases with use.

~ Nigerian proverb

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

~ African proverb

The zebra told the white horse, "I am white," and told the black horse, "I am actually black.

~ African proverb

It is no shame at all to work for money.

~ African proverb

He who loves money must labor.

~ Mauritaniam proverb

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

~ Somalian proverb

Nobody is born wise.

~ African proverb

Where there is love there is no darkness.

~ Burundi

It is better to be loved than feared.

~ Sierra Leone

The way to the beloved isn't thorny.

~ Cameroon (Duala)

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

~ Nigerian proverb

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? (English)
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.



Work done in the right way rewards both the employer and the employee. (English)

~ Borana (Kenya) Proverb

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

~ Kuba Proverb

The Kuba is an old empire in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) known for it traditional art and design. The life and work of the Kuba woman centered on the home and duties to her family. She is a mother of many children and the wise and industrious manager of the household, providing for the welfare of her husband and children. A Kuba woman knows the path of success in life. She plays a critical role. Her skills,resourcefulness, industry, wisdom, and hospitality, rather than her fertility or beauty, make her keep her home, husband, and the entire family together. A Kuba woman is considered as a life giver. She is mother to the society. This is the ideal portrait of the adult female in the Kuba Empire.

"Peace is costly but it is worth the expense"

~ African proverb

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

~ Ghanian Proverb

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

~ Mandinka Proverb

Between two friends even water drunk together is sweet enough.

~ Zimbabwe

A ripe melon falls by itself.

~ Zimbabwe proverb

Meaning: All things happen when their times come

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

~ Mossi proverb from West Africa

The dead say to each other, "Dead one".

~ Mandinka

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.

When the drumbeat changes, the dance changes.

~ Hausa proverb from Nigeria

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

~ Ashanti Proverb from Ghana

What the people think cannot be denied.

~ Basakata proverb

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.)

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

~ Efik Proverb from Nigeria and Cameroon proverb

Once the mushroom has sprouted from the earth, there is no turning back."

~ Luo proverb

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

~ Unknown

To have no enemies is the same as having wealth.

~ Unknown

The wealth of the greedy ultimately goes to the community.

~ Unknown

Americanized Version: If there are two brothers in a home, both must work to feed the family.

It is better to walk than curse the road.

~ Wolof proverb, Senegal

Loving someone that does not love you is like loving the rain that falls in the forest.

~ Western African proverb

Only Someone else can scratch your back.

~ Luyia Proverb, Western Kenya

Only a medicine man gets rich by sleeping

~ Nairobi, Kenya

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

~ Nigerian proverb

A camel does not tease another camel about its humps.

~ Egyptian proverb

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

~ African proverb on greed.

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

~ Nigerian Proverb

Even without drumbeats, the banana leaves dance.

~Congo proverb

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

~Kenyan proverb

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

~ Congo proverb

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

~Ethiopian proverb

When elephants fight, the grass gets hurt.

~Swahili proverb

Covetousness is the father of disease.

~African proverb

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

~African proverb

When the webs of the spider join, they can trap a lion

~ Ethiopian proverb

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