African Proverbs

Wisdom for the ages     October 22, 2018

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  1. A fight between grasshoppers is a joy to the crow.
  2. A flea can trouble a lion more than a lion can trouble a flea.
  3. A foolish person runs from the rain when the rain has already soaked through.
  4. A humble heart helps settle quarrels.
  5. A lie has many variations, the truth none.
  6. An empty pot makes the loudest noise.
  7. A noisy show does not imply knowledge.
  8. A snake that you can see does not bite.
  9. A soft word causes anger to turn back.
  10. Bad deeds affect the doer, good deeds affect the doer: It is not good to do bad deeds.
  11. Bad people profit when there is no peace.
  12. By crawling a child learns to stand.
  13. Doing things thoughtlessly brings destruction.
  14. Examine what is said, not who speaks.
  15. Greatness of size or abundance does not mean wisdom or power.
  16. Hot soup should be eaten slowly: Patience is involved in progress.
  17. If the leopard breaks a leg, the antelope comes to take repayment of debt.
  18. If the pestle misses the mortar, it pounds the ground.
  19. If two wise men always agree, then there is no need for one of them.
  20. If you are building a house and a nail breaks, do you stop building or do you change the nail?
  21. If you are filled with pride, then you will have no room for wisdom.
  22. If you close your eyes to facts, you will learn through accidents.
  23. If your only tool is a hammer, you will see every problem as a nail.
  24. If you speak proverbs to a wise person, they will understand; if you speak them to a fool, the fool will head straight for the bush. A small word is enough for the wise.
  25. If you think you are to small to make a difference, spend a night with a mosquito.
  26. If you think you have someone eating out of your hands, it is a good idea to count your fingers.
  27. Instruction in youth is like engraving in stone.
  28. In the moment of crisis, the wise build bridges and the foolish build dams.
  29. It is better to give than to receive
  30. It is not by staring hard that one sees the road.
  31. It takes a village to raise a child.
  32. Laughter does not show friendship. The behavior or the face can conceal what is in the heart.
  33. No matter how beautiful and well crafted a coffin might look, it will not make anyone wish for death.
  34. Not everyone who answers to the name of Chief is a chief.
  35. One need not tell a deaf person that war has broken out: An important or powerful thing demonstrates itself.
  36. One should not join the mad in mad practices.
  37. One who causes others misfortune also teaches them wisdom.
  38. One who learns, teaches.
  39. One who receives a gift does not measure.
  40. One who throws away the seed pod does not realize that one has thrown away a basket of vegetables
  41. One who uses force is afraid of reasoning.
  42. Rising early makes the road short.
  43. Seeing but not speaking is characteristic of elders. Speaking but not listening is characteristic of youth.
  44. Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.
  45. The axe forgets but the tree remembers.
  46. The betrothed of good is evil the betrothed of life is death the betrothed of love is divorce.
  47. The eye is used to tell whether the corn is ripe: A good thing sells itself.
  48. The fool speaks, the wise listen
  49. The hot-tempered dies before the one who has committed a crime.
  50. The most beautiful fig may contain a worm.
  51. The roaring lion kills no prey.
  52. The surface of the water is beautiful, but it is no good to sleep on.
  53. Those who rush toward a fight do not know that fighting means death.
  54. To get lost is to learn the way.
  55. Wealth, if you use it, comes to an end; learning, if you use it, increases.
  56. When sickness is cured, the foolish forget the cure.
  57. When you show the moon to a child, it only sees your finger.
  58. Where you will sit when you are old shows where you stood in youth.
  59. Wisdom is not like money to be tied up and hidden.
  60. Wisdom is wealth.
  61. You always learn a lot more when you lose than when you win.

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© Copyright 2018 by Kenneth Tucker.