African Quotes and Proverbs Chapter 1


  1. He who pursues a chicken often falls while the chicken often runs along. (Igbo translation – Ochu nwa okuko nwe ada mana nwa okuko nwe nwe nwe oso. ) – Amaka
  2. You cannot shave a man in his absence (Igbo Language – Anaghi akpu nwoke isi na azu ya) – Vitus Lawrence
  3. “Even though the baby monkey may appear so ugly, the mother loves him/her anyway” – by Archibong eyo okon
  4. Where the leopard is made a judge the goat rarely gets a fair judgement.. – makanze emeka
  5. He who pursues an innocent chicken often stumbles.
  6. He who wrestles with a gorilla will find his back dusty. – Jude Ezedike
  7. No matter how long and staunch a person’s neck may be, the head must always sit on top of it. – Jude Ezedike
  8. Youth is like a stream, if it is not directed to its course it meanders and swallows its tail.- Jude Ezedike
  9. An Owl farted and demanded to be praised by his kinsmen, they mocked him that it is not right to dance to an abomination. (In Igbo Language: Ikwikwi nyuru ahuru si umunna ya kwere ya egwu, ha si ya “tufia” anghi ekwere ihe ojoo egwu) – Jude Ezedike
  10. When two brothers fight, strangers reap the harvest. An Ibo saying – Submitted by Fasegun Ola
  11. “Words are easy, friendship is hard.” – submitted by Courtney Stern
  12. It is only God that saves a cow that has no tail from the menace of flies – Submitted by Wale ogunbiyi
  13. No one can corrupt you unless you are corrupt (ewe proverb from Ghana) – Submitted by Clarence dodzi amedofu.
  14. The old pumpkin in the courtyard shall not be uprooted (acholi proverb from Uganda) “In acholi: te okono machon pe gi putu.” Submitted by Okema Leonard.
  15. “You have to count one before counting two”
  16. “If you hear a mad man talking, wait for a minute and you will hear what makes people think he is mad”
  17. “A fool is always right in his own eyes – no wonder he is a fool”
  18. The prosperity of the trees is the well being of the birds.
  19. If your mouth turns into a knife, it will one day cut off your lips.
  20. An old man who by himself carries one load on the head and another in his hand, must have played away his youth.
  21. One does not use both feet at the same time to test the depth of the river.
  22. The successful consumption of hot pepper-soup is achieved by maintaining a gradual pace in the licking of it.
  23. No one drinks hot pepper soup in a hurry
  24. There is no need to hurry in the licking of the finger because it will not be put away on the rafter.
  25. The heart of man and the bottom of the sea are unfathomable.
  26. Do not call the forest that shelters you a jungle.
  27. One must first praise the farmer for a job well done before asking him for a yam.
  28. Do not tell the man that is carrying you that he stinks.
  29. All of us cannot sleep and place our heads in the same direction at the same time.
  30. The cock that is drunk is yet to meet the hawk that is irate.
  31. When the cock is drunk he forgets about the hawk.
  32. If one overeats, he will either throw up (vomit) or swell up.
  33. The one who overfears, is the one who meets with hardship.
  34. It takes a whole village to raise a child.
  35. He, who learns, teaches.
  36. When the door is opened, the mouth is opened.
  37. The fool speaks, the wise listens.
  38. After a foolish deed comes remorse.
  39. The King, who surrounds himself with good counselors, has a good reign.
  40. One cannot run away from his behind.
  41. A man, who knows the use of proverbs, reconciles difficulties.
  42. Knowledge is not the main thing, but good deed is.
  43. The child that washes his hand well gets to eat with the elders.
  44. A roaring lion kills no game.
  45. He, who marries a woman only for her beauty, has ignored a major part of what makes a woman.
  46. He, who marries a beauty, marries trouble.
  47. It is Mr. Old-Monkey that marries Mrs. Old Monkey.
  48. It is a hand soiled with oil that brings about the lips soiled with oil.
  49. An old field is easy to cultivate.- Matengu Katukula
  50. Tomorrow is pregnant and no-one knows what she will give birth to. – Andrew Uwaoma
  51. tell me who ya love and i will tell ya who ya are. – ama
  52. A fly with out an adviser, usually follow the corpse to the grave. – Andrew Uwaoma
  53. The liver of a lion is a vain wish for the dog – Chike Cletus
  55. a king eats every thing only when he is working with a mouth conscious man – ikechukwu anyanwu
  57. Show me your friend and I will show you your character (in Akan kyereme woadamfo na menkyere wo wosuban.) – Kwaku Boateng
  58. Dreamers remember their dreams when they are in trouble.When you throw a stone at God, it lands right on top of your head – nii-adotey acquaye-baddoo
  59. “You don’t buy a hen to rear from the market.” In Chichewa, “Nkhuku yoweta sagula pa msika.” – Nyurukuta Namahetche
  60. Kings are born but not made.
  61. The more one talks the more he/she reveals his/her secrets.
  62. Great towns grow with peace but not by killing and intimidation.
  63. when a child is crying and pointing his hand toward one direction, if his father is not there then his mother must be there.
  64. Peace-talk comes after war.
  65. A good liar can never lie with his name, and a good believer can never leave his father’s and grand father’s beliefs.
  66. Action speaks louder than the words.
  67. If there are good rules and order in a society then we don’t need law and punishment.
  68. A man can never have a male child before his father.
  69. God made man, Man made money but money corrupts man.
  70. All religion belief that there is only “One God” but we don’t know if God is a man or woman. – Submitted by Prince Arusi Obi
  71. When the foolish man realizes wisdom, know that he has exhausted all he has.
  72. The friends of our friends are our friends.
  73. When a woman behaves like a woman, the man should behave like a man.
  74. An intelligent enemy is better than a stupid friend.
  75. Good cooking is a woman’s surest path to a man’s heart
  76. A child who washes his hands clean enough gets to eat with the elders
  77. A blind man can be told that there is no oil in the soup, but he will have to use his tongue if he must find out the level of the salt.
  78. “May he who comes to visit me never bring death to me, and when he does depart, may he never grow a hunch-back.”
  79. “What an old man can see while seated a young man can not see standing.”
  80. “When a head is too big it cannot avoid punches.”
  81. “Two trees planted together cannot avoid brushing against each other.”
  82. “The man whose house is on fire does not go hunting for a rat..”
  83. “If a bachelor decides to cook and at the same time goes to climb the palm tree, if he does not fall from the palm-tree, his food on the fire (stove) will get burnt.”
  84. “The mind is like a bag, everyone carries his/her own.”
  85. “Character is like smoke, it cannot be hidden.”
  86. “The market is not attended from a single road.”
  87. “When a road is good, it is used a second time.”
  88. “The child that leaves the fate of his future in the hope of inheritance property, sets himself up for a life of poverty.”
  89. “The frog never runs in daylight for nothing.”








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