Talk:African proverbs

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Bold textAfrican proverbs are idiomatic expressions relevant to the situations and happenings discovered on the african shores. These proverbs are not just given or made base on literal work but strictly on the happenings envisaged within the vicinity of the happenings. "The person who is chasing a chicken will always fall and the chicken will always outrun him or her." Igbo proverb from Nigeria To list all proverbs of the African continent is a disserves. How would South / North America and Europe / the East feel if they were bundled together. All nations are unique, and so the countries. It would better reflect the diversity if listed per country in Africa. Then one can also see where influences from other areas of the world come from. Africa will have a large number of links to the French, Portuguese, Indian and other languages. I am sure it would be interesting to see how a proverb was adapted, adopted etc.

Possible correction[edit]

When I consider a relation to 'oak tree' of this one: "Evil enters like a needle and spreads like an oak tree." then I would write this as: "Evil enters like a splinter ([1]) and spreads like an oak tree." -- 16:59, 8 March 2008 (UTC)


  • Sell Gold to those who knows Gold, otherwise you will be asked if it can be enough to make a hoe. Alpha Bah - Cardiff, Wales
  • An old man who wakes up early in the morning going to work, was a young man who slept a lot. Alpha Bah - Cardiff, Wales
  • If you lost something and you are not worried about it, anyone who finds it won't be happy. Alpha Bah - Cardiff, Wales
  • If a Blind man say he is going to hit you with a stick, then he most be standing on it. Alpha Bah - Cardiff, Wales
  • A chick that will grow into a cock can be spotted the very day it hatches.Things fall Apart a book by Chinua Achebe
  • An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb.
  • A man who pays respect to the great paves the way for his own greatness. Things fall Apart a book by Chinua Achebe
  • Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped.
  • If a child washes his hands well he could eat with kings.
  • If you don't stand for something, you will fall for something.
  • You cannot see the inside of a bottle through the neck with two eyes.
  • The mouth which eats does not talk.

Proverbs as stated in the BBC News website[edit]

  • "If you say that you are in a loving relationship, surely night will fall" Alpha Bah - Cardiff, Wales
  • "A chicken shouldn't belittling what it is picking on the ground as it is not the one putting it there. Alpha Bah - Cardiff, Wales
  • “Much silence has a mighty noise” - A Swahili proverb sent by Robert Porter in Tema, Ghana
  • “A house built with saliva will be washed away by the morning dew” - A Yoruba proverb sent by Afolabi Salawu and Yemiolorunsogo, both in Nigeria
  • “Until the lion tells his side of the story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter” - Sent by Smith Moyo, Malawi (I wonder what that means...)
  • “When you see an old man running in a thorn forest, if he is not running after something then something is running after him” - Yoruba proverb sent by Yomi, from Porto, Portugal
  • “Ears that do not listen to advice accompany the head when it is chopped off” - Sent by Michael Ebong in Lagos, Nigeria, and Chea Wesseh in Saclepea, Liberia
  • “Kola nuts last longer in the mouths of those who value them” - Sent by Bonti Benjamin, in Ghana, and Okeke James in Nigeria (everyone has a different interest, perhaps?)
  • “Rain does not fall on one roof alone” - Sent by Peyechu Delphine Shiyghan, Bamenda, Cameroon (of problems that affect anyone and everyone, perhap?)
  • “The fall of a dead leaf is a warning to the green ones” - Sent by Alex Wewele, Delta State, Nigeria
  • “The dead man does not know the value of his coffin” - Sent by Francis Kabika, Senanga, Zambia
  • “The chicken does not forget the person who plucked its tail feathers during the rainy season” - An Igbo proverb sent by Nnabuife N Orji, Festac, Nigeria
  • “When spider webs unite, they can tie up a lion” - Sent by Fisum T, Ethiopia
  • “Better to stumble with the foot than with the tongue” - A Swahili proverb sent by Meg Burley, London, UK
  • “In a court of fowls, the cockroach never wins a case” - A proverb from Rwanda and Burundi sent by Imonitie C Imoisili in Lagos, Nigeria
  • “A cooking pot for the chameleon is a cooking pot for the lizard” - A Nigerian proverb sent by Michael Okorie, Tromso, Norway (here's a possible equivalent: what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander)
  • “A child does not teach how to breastfeed” - Sent by Moses Mayen Mayen, South Sudan
  • “Despise not a snail for its slow and struggling movement; it has a destination and with time it shall arrive” - Sent by Alfred Jah Johnson, Pennsylvania, United States
  • “Those who die as the result of their folly are many; those who die as the result of their wisdom are few” - Sent by Amos Faleye, Ogun state, Nigeria
  • “When the leopard has a toothache, then the goat can go and collect a debt” - A Krio proverb from Sierra Leone sent by Sigismond Wilson, Oklahoma, US
  • “Bad dancing does not break an engagement” - A Luyia / Gisu proverb sent by Sheila Oder, Kampala, Uganda
  • “One who enters the forest does not listen to the breaking of the twigs in the bush” - A Bemba proverb from Zambia sent by Alexis Kabanda, Ottawa, Canada
  • “One who throws away the seed pod does not realize that he has thrown away a basket of vegetables” - An Igbo proverb sent by Nnamdi Udoye, London, UK (waste not, want not?)
  • “When they wish to eat a vulture, they call it a guinea fowl” - An Amharic proverb sent by Kebede Deribe, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • “When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you” - Sent by Wolit William, Kampala, Uganda
  • “Only a madman would go to sleep with his roof on fire” - Sent by Mohamed Sinera, Serekunda, The Gambia
  • “The ugliest donkey has the most painful kick” - A Somali proverb sent by Warda Mahamed, Birmingham, UK (about insults, is it?)
  • “The shadow of a stick cannot protect you from the sun” - A Swahili proverb sent by Abdul Ally, Moose Jaw, Canada
  • “When brothers fight to the death, a stranger inherits their father's estate” - An Igbo proverb sent by Ugochukwu Okwesili-Val, Anambra State, Nigeria
  • “A son who thoughtlessly buys a pair of shoes for his lame father needs to be reminded of his father's disability” - A Yoruba proverb sent by Ayo Awoyele, Peterborough, UK
  • “The tongue cannot claim to be ignorant of what the teeth are doing” - Sent by Ibrahim Batambuze, Mukono, Uganda
  • “The town trap is not for the rat alone” - A Liberian proverb sent by T Chuku Welwolo, South Plainfield, NJ, United States
  • “The stick of truth may be overstretched but truth will eventually prevail” - An Eritrean proverb sent by Jonathan Okbamichael, London, UK
  • “A vulture has no business with the barber” - A Yoruba proverb sent by Anyanwu Chima, Lagos, Nigeria (of prejudicial people, perhaps?)
  • “When a tree has no more fruit, birds fly over it” - A Kiganda proverb sent by Joshua Kisawuzi, Kampala, Uganda
  • “Kicking a frog will only help it leap forward” - A Shona proverb sent by Cleophas Gwakwara, in Harare, Zimbabwe, and Takudzwa Kufa, in the UK
  • “Ask for a camel when you expect to get a goat” - Sent by Maurice K Amulundu, Khartoum, Sudan
  • “You have to be patient if you want to prise a worm from a chicken” - A Bemba proverb sent by Chisenga Bwalanda, Lusaka, Zambia
  • “Look for a black goat while it is still daytime” - Sent by Ellis Gideon Gesah, Yerima Gassol, Taraba State, Nigeria
  • “The family tree may bend but it never breaks” - A Krio proverb sent by Hassan Tahini, Freetown, Sierra Leone
  • “Give a stammerer enough time and he will pronounce his father's name” - A Yoruba proverb sent by Johnson Folorunso Ajayi, Southport, UK
  • “Lying can get you a wife, but it won't keep her” - A Cameroonian proverb sent by Odette Eya Oteh, London, UK
  • “Don't catch a leopard by the tail, but if you do, don't let it go” - Sent by Aman, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • “The termite is merely wishful, it can't sting the stone” - A Yoruba proverb sent by Olatunji Muyiwa, Ondo, Nigeria
  • “A crying hungry child cannot be consoled by tales of past prosperity” - A Bemba proverb sent by Chisenga Bwalanda, Lusaka, Zambia
  • “No matter how low a cotton tree falls, it's still taller than grass” - A Krio proverb from Sierra Leone sent by Sigismond Wilson, Oklahoma, US
  • “Mountains never meet but people do” - Sent by Estar Nalwanga, Entebbe, Uganda
  • “If a donkey kicks you and you kick back, you are both donkeys” - Sent by Keefa Nuwahereza, in Kampala, Uganda, and Nhial Kheer, in Nairobi, Kenya
  • “Even if Christ's death could have been prevented, Judas would still have been a traitor” - An Ethiopian proverb sent by Kudzai Mutizhe, High Wycombe, UK
  • “No amount of rain can wash the spots off a leopard” - Sent by Dah Fritz Welbeck, in Ghana, and Zina in Nigeria

African Parables[edit]

  • A child who wants to put on his fathers pants, rope will finish his waste. Alpha Bah - Cardiff, Wales
  • If one wants to sell a Dog's head in place of a Sheep's head, you will need to do a lot of convincing. Alpha Bah - Cardiff Wales
  • The shade of a tree is not valued until it is no longer there. Alpha Bah - Cardiff, Wales

Oral citation[edit]

Most African proverbs are not published anywhere but are passed down from generation to generation. I know this because every year in my village there's a reed dance where the elders would recite these. Would it be wise to quote the elders is it an acceptable practise to for Wikiquotes to reference through oral citation? Bobbyshabangu (talk) 21:39, 24 August 2015 (UTC)