Anaang Proverbs (54)


The Anaang (also spelled Annang) is a cultural and ethnic group native to "South South" geopolitical zone in Nigeria. It is also known as Western Ibibio, is part of the Ibibio-Efik dialect cluster. It is the native language of the Anaang people of Nigeria.



Time cannot obliterate the memory of a village case.

Stones are cheap; the problem is weight.

Do not play with a snake offspring as if it could never bite.

Two cocks do not crow from the same roof.

If you play with a dog, do not complain when it tears your clothes.

A child who refuses the mother's advice does not live long.

If you play with a dog, do not complain when it tears your clothes.

The story of former wealth does not satisfy man.

The tortoise complains of rain whereas it has only wetted its feet.

A lender does not hate part payment.

A word shoots up like the blade of grass.

When a man has no one to play with he plays with his enemy.

When you hold the ground you cannot fall.

In a true heart, there is no fear.

If the cockroach refuses to stay in its hole,
the chicken refuses to stay hungry.

A soup that tastes good by licking must taste better by eating.

When a baby grows, the crying changes.

A wandering child cannot eat his mother's food when it is hot.

Praise has killed the antelope.

A chicken has no bad luck in the morning.

A chicken that gets a sprained ankle is abandoned by its own mother.

A word shoots up like the blade of grass.

When bitterness preceeds sweetness, the sweetness becomes sweeter.

While a bush fowl is being roasted, a chicken considers its own fate.

When a man has no one to play with he plays with his enemy.

A razor may be sharper than an axe, but it cannot cut wood.

Infancy teeth are not for chewing nuts.

What has escaped from the leopard, still remains for the leopard.

A mother refuses to go far lest her baby cries.

Pepper has a beautiful face with an ugly temper.

A river less vast than an ocean gets a bridge.

If you speak with a cunning mouth, I listen with a cunning ear.

A mother that has lost many children by death,
hates the idea of her child taking a nap.

A person does not lay on one side throughout the sleep.

After a fish has matured, it ventures into the deep.

A rat that gnaws pepper is desperate for food.

A person does not lay on one side throughout the sleep.

When a leopard limps, a hare dares to demand for payment of a debt.

When blood appears, it is apt to run.

Drop by drop rains fills a pot.

There is no discrimination in the forest of the dead.

An animal that has just escaped from a trap fears a bent stick.

Unity is strength, separation weakness.

Generosity is wealth.

A debtor's wife speaks the voice of her husband.

A thorn does not pierce a rat.

When you are rich, relation exists; if you are poor, relations desist.

A man who puts his hand into the bee's hive gets stung by the bees.

Medicine does not depend on the incantations of the sorcerer.

A man who lives in two homes cannot catch a thief.

While a dead tree is expected to collapse,
a live one unexpectedly snaps.

A lover is unmindful of any charcoal on the body.

Bemba Proverbs (90)

The Bemba language, ChiBemba, is a major Bantu language spoken primarily in north-eastern Zambia. The Lamba language is closely related and some people consider it a dialect of Bemba.

The lion which has come to the end of its means is forced to eat grass.

A big tree does not fall like a little child.

He who paddles two canoes, sinks.

Treat the days well and they will treat you well.

The successor of the leopard succeeds also the spots.

Where the water recedes, there is a crocodile.

Do not insult a woman before she has undressed.

The little promise you promised is not forgotten.

What reveals a man is his behavior in time of hunger.

The honey is not forgotten but the axe is.

Spilled water is not picked up again.

At the ford, they call someone who knows about it.

The travelers are the people who bring news about the spoors of lions.

The child of a beggar eats when his mother has begged successfully.

Sitting a lot ends by making holes in clothes.

Adultery is like dung; one goes far to do it.

He who begins early helps himself a lot.

Brains of one person do not know what is going on
in the back of your neck.

What fills the small basket does not fill the large one.

A stolen orange is better tasting than your own.

The work of two is not meant to be done by one alone.

We do not know the cock in the egg.

Two people make two brains and one person only one.

He who travels with a dog may lie,
but not one who travels with people.

A bow which is stretched to the limit breaks.

Abuse of hospitality breaks the bridge.

He who is slandered is great.

A new whistle peels off the lip.

The monkey who is alone does not amuse himself in front of many.

Make haste before the road gets slippery.

He who is with fever is not shown to the fire.

The work meant to be performed by two
cannot be done by one alone.

What makes the road long is laziness to go.

Where a tall man puts up a thing,
a short one cannot get it down.

The mouth is the helper and can redeem.

The stranger who does not know where the spring is
will draw water in a dirty pool.

The child of a snake is also a snake.

The strength of one person only does not go far.

A lie comes back sooner or later.

He who does not listen does not sit at the council.

An old pontoon often capsizes.

The day you are unlucky, even the cold food burns.

Where there is meat, the vultures congregate.

The best medicine against troubles is to keep quiet.

Where there is greatness, it shows itself.

A garden is like a babe; it does not grow fast.

When you show the moon to a child, it sees only your finger.

The lion which is alone cannot see his own mistakes.

Hunger means cultivating not begging.

Bad luck rots and in the end one rejoices.

A poor man has a large stomach, not a large mouth.

The poor man does not go on a journey.

Where God cooks, no smoke rises.

Goods can be acquired, not children.

God is the blacksmith who does not forge for only one.

The little ant at its hole is full of courage.

A sick person does not hide his buttocks.

Wealth is not picked up like lice.

The person going home is not stopped by the dusk.

The harshness of the mouth does not govern a house.

Fingers which catch dirty things can be washed.

The person who beats the drum must also know the song.

A child is like an axe; even if it hurts you,
you still carry it on your shoulder.

One rat alone can bring trouble to many.

A riddle made by God is not solved.

The child who has never had indigestion eats and eats.

What women say is nonsense; but he who does not listen in is a fool.

The poor man does not go on a journey.

A sick person does not hide his buttocks.

The person going home is not stopped by the dusk.

The person who beats the drum must also know the song.

To threaten an elephant you must carry a spear.

A piece of cloth is not new for long; it is old for long.

The fire which is screened by elders is not dangerous.

A male dog does not get food for his companion.

A dog does not die at the hand of its owner.

He who travels with a dog may lie, but not one who travels with people.

Many are the eyes of the person whose spouse commits adultery.

The child of a generous person does not die of hunger.

At your mother's death another one will not come.

The stranger who is not generous is not generous in his own land.

Insults do not cause a sore.

He who was busy with two things drowned.

The trees which are growing are tomorrow's forest.

The hunger of your friend does not hinder sleep.

The trees which are pointed out by the axe do not cut themselves down.

Trees which are near to one another do not fall to scratch one another.

It is the little thing you hold that will hit the dog.

Don't provoke your in-laws before sleeping with your wife-to-be.

It is the mother hippopotamus which shows the little one how to dive.

❖❖❖

Cameroonian Proverbs (001-050)

A small axe is not sufficient to cut down a large tree.

A wrong step by the leader is a warning for those following.

A warthog eating its fill does not delight a pig.

A greedy man always has his eye on his wife’s pot.

A debt is not a loss once one knows the debtor.

A mother is like a kernel, crushed by problems
but strong enough to overcome them.

A fig tree cannot walk, but its roots go very far.

A long beard doesn ot prevent a house going to bed hungry.

A knife does not recognise its owner.

A hen drinks water while it raises its head upward.

A friend in need is a friend in deed.

A genius is he who is first to be right.

A lazy person talks for so long, a determinant does.

A baby cannot be heard crying in his mother's womb.

A chattering bird builds no nest.

A goat never grazes in the same place.

A fish is the last to acknowledge the existence of water.

A goat does not always graze in the same place.

A puppy must not confront a large animal.

A real family eats the same cornmeal.

A stupid cow leads her calf near the road.

A wife is the wealth.

A rooster does not sing on two roofs.

Beating drums is fun, but also tiring.

Beauty is an empty calabash.

Before killing the chicken carefully observe
the character of your guest.

Between imitation and envy, imitation is better.

Brothers who get along will always defeat the enemy.

Do not put your head in front of your words.

Do not grab your heel until the ant has bitten you.

Do not throw away the oars before the boat reaches the shore.

Don’t ask for Glasgow when you have already reached London.

During a storm you seek shelter under a tree and not the clouds.

Eggs and metal do not go in the same basket.

Even your dog knows the homes of your friends.

Even without drumbeats, banana leaves dance.

Even if thin, the elephant remains the king of the forest.

Even if a baby seems unpleasant to look at,
his mother never refuses him.

Every hill is a burial site.

Every hill has its leopard.

God does not ask to withstand more than is possible.

Happiness can grow from only a little contentment.

I pointed out to you the stars and the moon,
and all you saw was the tip of my finger.

If you do not listen to good advice, you will be embarrassed in public.

If your corn field is far from your home, the birds will eat your corn.

If the needle doesn’t pass, the thread doesn't follow.

If you carry the egg basket do not dance.

If a bird does not recognise a tree, it will not rest on it.

If you don't agree with the majority, you are a wizard.

If familiarity were useful, water wouldn’t cook fish.

❖❖❖

Cameroonian Proverbs (051-100)

If a father does not cultivate, the son does not inherit land.

If you get a fine harvest of maize don’t break
your local brotherhood and sisterhood.

In the great river there are large and small fish.

It is only a male elephant that can save another one from a pit.

It is easier to transport a termite hill than have authority in a village.

Know the price of a Kwanga while dad and mom are still alive.

Leave alone a dance you are unable to perform.

Like ants, eat little and carry the rest back to your home.

Major problems have solution with the old men.

Marriage is a school.

No one knows if a bird in flight has an egg in its stomach.

Nobody kills an ignorant person who begs for wisdom.

One will always return to an axe or hoe
handle that the woman shows them.

One who enters the forest does not listen
to the breaking of the twigs in the brush.

One should not beg with a basket.

One who bathes willingly with cold water doesn't feel the cold.

Only a mother can understand the suffering of a son.

Patience can cook a stone.

People know each other better on a journey.

Pretend you are dead and you will see who really loves you.

Pride only goes the length one can spit.

Roots do not know what a leaf has in mind.

Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.

Suffering is prior to attaining success or perfection.

Tall stories destroy the family relationship.

The predator lands on an unknown tree.

The chief's son has to collect firewood when destiny destroys him.

The mouth does not eat if the feet do
not walk and the hands work.

The heart is a locket that does not open easily.

The corpse of a bird does not decompose
in flight, but on the ground.

The bird has no nest, but a branch to rest on.

The mouse says: I dig a hole without a hoe;
the snake says: I climb a tree without arms.

The eyes of the wise person see through you.

The heart of an adult is like that of an elephant.

The rain falls on only one roof.

The skin of the leopard is beautiful, but not his heart.

The house that is built well
doesn’t move any longer.

The strength of the elderly is in the ears and on the lips.

The sun shines during the day, not at night.

The person who sees the in-laws to be bad is not the engaged woman.

The tears of the orphan run inside.

The toad that wanted to avoid the rain fell in the water.

The path leads towards loved ones not thorns.

The wind helps those without an axe to cut wood.

The womb is not a boat, it cannot carry as much.

The parent who corrects his or her child with a rod does not sin.

The pants of today are better than the breeches of tomorrow.

The word of a friend makes you cry;
the word of an enemy makes you laugh.

The one who eats has tasted the hardship of labor.

To form a dog is the ruin of education.

❖❖❖

Cameroonian Proverbs (101-123)

To start a fight, one does not bring a knife that cuts but a needle that sews.

To punch with a strong fist, you need to turn over your hand.

What is hanging up, cannot be reached sitting down.

When a leaf falls to the ground, the tree gets the blame.
The shame goes to the tree.

When you need to make an important decision,
never do it alone, choose the right people.

When you eat an egg do not insult the chicken.

When a mother has twins she must sleep on her back.

Where there is no shame, there is no honor.

Where the rooster crows there is a village.

Who eats too much, will then be sick.

Who built the drum knows best what is inside.

Who does not love to dance, does not love to sing.

Who gets lost in the forest takes it out
on who leads him back to the right road.

Wisdom is like fire. People take it from others.

You cannot hear a baby cry in the mother's womb.

You cannot be a mouse and a bat at the same time.

You are invited to join the hunt when your nets are in evidence.

You can see the source of a river, but not that of a clan.

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

You are not born a leader, you become one.

You learn how to cut down trees cutting them down.

You take a bull by the horns and a man by his words.

Your mother is still your mother, though her legs be small.

❖❖❖

Ashanti Proverbs (92)

Ashanti, Asante (dialect), or Asante Twi, is spoken by over
2.8 million people in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.

No tree ever bore fruit without first having flowers.

When your gold dust is becoming finished, then you become prudent.

Even if your mother is not a good woman,
she is your mother nevertheless.

A crab does not give birth to a bird.

When you have caught the mother hen,
you pick up the chickens without difficulty.

All destinies are not alike.

By the time the fool has learned to play the game,
the players have dispersed.

A word that when spoken you would wish back,
let it remain in your head.

If one could know where death resided,
one would never stop there.

A path has ears.

Personal beauty does not pay a debt.

Death has the key to open the miser's chest.

When you tap the pot, you see where the crack is.

The herbs to apply to a snake bite are quickly plucked.

It is the woman who knows her husband,

Wealth is a fine thing, but to find an heir is not easy.

When the fool is told a proverb,
the meaning of it has to be explained to him.

When a big bird does not trouble to fly it goes to sleep hungry.

The poor man has no friend.

Hunger is felt by a slave and hunger is felt by a king.

It is the path you do not fear that the wild beast catches you on.

A river you would not bathe in is not drunk from.

A good case is not difficult to state.

The poor man and the rich man do not play together.

Of hunger and debt, debt is preferable.

When an army suffers defeat,
a horn is not blown in its honor.

It is the feathers on a fowl that make it big.

No one puts his finger in another man's mouth
and then beats him over the head.

One falsehood spoils a thousand truths.

It is poverty that causes the free man to become a slave.

No one who is following an elephant
has to knock the dew off the grass.

He who is guilty is the one who has much to say.

When your wife is a woman of no morals,
then she might as well be some one else's harlot.

The poor man and the rich man do not play together.

The conversation between husband and wife no one knows about.

What is not wanted is not turned back for.

When a man is disliked he is blamed for all kinds of things.

The physician's fee is not paid till the sickness is over.

No one buys a cow's footprint.

When one would climb a tree, one begins from the bottom
and not from the top.

The dog says he will never commit adultery, but when he does so,
he commits it with his own father’s wife.

When rain beats on a leopard it wets him,
but it does not wash out his spots.

In truth there is no deceit.

It is one man who kills an elephant, but many people who eat its flesh.

No one dispenses with the thumb in tying a knot.

A child does not look into the soup pot for nothing.

The poor man has no friend.

Ancient things remain in the ears.

No one makes a fowl taboo and then eats its chickens.

Fire and gunpowder do not sleep together.

When a king has good counselors, then his reign is peaceful.

A knave for one is a good man for another.

Your house is your own house.

No one sends a child on an errand and looks
to see if he is pleased or not.

Money is sharper than a sword.

It is only when a child cries that he is given the breast.

A word that when spoken you would wish back,
let it remain in your head.

No one sells his laying hen without a good reason.

What is bad luck for one man is good luck for another.

It is a small thing that is taken to measure a big thing.

An army is driven back by courage and not by insults, however many.

There is no medicine to cure hatred.

The bird weaves its nest by going and coming.

A wife is like a blanket; when you cover yourself with it,
it irritates you, and yet if you cast it aside you feel cold.

Even if the mouse were the size of a cow,
he would be the cat's slave nevertheless.

The enemy of a chief is he who has grown up with him from childhood.

It is owing to being disturbed that a snake bites.

One bird in your hand is better than ten birds in the sky.

The biting fly gets nothing by alighting on the back of the tortoise.

The dog says he will never commit adultery, but when he does so,
he commits it with his own father's wife.

All animals sweat, but the hair on them causes us not to notice it.

One man's road does not go far without meeting another's.

A sheep does not give birth to a goat.

A slave does not choose his master.

A snake does not bite a man without cause.

When you have five wives, you have five tongues.

No one dreams of going to where they will kill him.

It is difficult to throw a stone at a lizard which is clinging to a pot.

The biting fly has no one to come to his aid in trouble.

A wax bullet is not used to shoot an elephant.

When the hunter comes from the bush carrying mushrooms,
he is not asked for news of his hunting.

Death is not a sleeping room that can be entered and come out of again.

The vulture has not a good name and its body has not a good smell.

There is nothing that hurts like shame.

When war has come, rumors have come.

When a man is disliked he is blamed for a,/br>ll kinds of things.

The bad bird fouls its own nest.

A stranger is like a child.

If plain water is satisfying enough,
then the fish would not take the hook.

When an animal is not going to bite you,
it does not show its teeth at you.

No one boasts of what belongs to another.

When a fly does not get up off a dead body, he is buried with it.

❖❖❖

Efik Proverbs (33)

The Efik are an ethnic group located primarily in southeastern Nigeria, in the southern part of Cross River State.

Thought breaks the heart.

A stream coming down won't let you swim up.

It is not worth talking about a slip of the foot as if it were a fall.

Man looks only on the outside of things;
God looks into the very heart.

It is the sea only which knows the bottom of the ship,
as God only knows the time of death.

Times causes remembrance.

A man always breaking off from his work never finishes anything.

A knot in the tree spoils the axe; famine spoils friendship.

Reverence your elder, for the man excelling in age excels in wisdom.

It is good that equals consort together.

There is no worse curse than to desire a man's death.

One knows not the stability of his life.

He who falls by his foot shall rise again;
he who falls by his mouth shall not rise.

The tree-knot spoils the axe; hunger spoils love.

When a man sees sunshine he dries his tobacco.

Even a miser does not refuse his cook part of what he roasts.

An elephant will reach to the roof of the house.

A sitting in one place makes a man sleep.

A man knows not whether he will see tomorrow.

The fish when grown big returns to his rivulet.

Many destroy themselves by falsehood.

He who asks questions hears the language,
or gets interpretations.

One monkey does not like another to get a bellyful.

It is the stomach which rules the man.

The bad tree, like the crooked sugarcane,
says he will not straighten; he breaks.

A man who talks of others behind their backs,
another will talk of him in like manner.

Connected with a great man, you will advance.

A straight road has no turnings.

Knowledge is better than riches.

The son disgraces his father by bad conduct.

A man sauntering has no business.

It is good for a man to bear trouble rather than die.

A man does not use one finger to take out an arrow.

❖❖❖

Egyptian Proverbs (125)

The house of the unjust oppressor is destroyed,
though it should happen in distant times.

Who seeks for wealth without previous wealth
is like him who carries water in a sieve.

The eyewitness observes what the absent does not see.

Blessed be the man who knows his power
and abstains from doing evil to others.

The jealousy of the harlot is evidenced by adultery,
that of the virtuous woman by weeping.

The tears of the adultress are ever ready.

There is no peace until after enmity.

The first condition of friendship is to agree with each other.

Poverty and anger do not agree.

Upon every misfortune another misfortune.

The misfortunes of some people are advantages to others.

The remedy against bad times is to have patience with them.

Money is sweet balm.

The merit belongs to the beginner,
should even the successor do better.

Man is the slave of beneficence.

Silence is the best answer to the stupid.

The best food is that which fills the belly.

Anger without power is a ready blow.

The wind blows as the sailors do not wish.

A borrowed cloak does not keep one warm.

The serpent brings forth nothing but a little serpent.

Eat whatever you like, but dress as others do.

The dream of the cat is all about the mice.

The clever and active valet wants no one to set him right.

The value of each man consists in what he does well.

He who cooks a bad thing, eats of it.

He who eats alone, coughs alone.

A fly is nothing; yet it creates loathsomeness.

The cat that is always crying catches nothing.

Evil is of old date.

Singing without remuneration
is like a dead body without perfumes.

The market of debauch is always open.

Drunkenness departed and reflection came.

The devil does not destroy his own house.

The crown of a good disposition is humility.

In every head is some wisdom.

The tongue of experience has most truth.

No one extracts the oil but the oil presser.

The beetle is a beauty in the eyes of its mother.

Custom is a fifth nature.

No right is lost which is followed up by demands.

Every thing forbidden is sweet.

The image of friendship is truth.

The enmity of the wise, rather than the friendship of the fool.

With gentleness the fracture is repaired.

Govern the rabble by opposing them.

The little among certain people are great among other people.

The mother of the coward does not grieve for him.

Even the handsome woman experiences the misfortune of divorce.

One day in perfect health is much.

The guest of the hospitable treats hospitably.

Strike the innocent that the guilty may confess.

The best generosity is quick.

The jealousy of a wife is the key to her divorce.

Eat and drink, and let the world go to ruin.

He who is not ashamed does whatever he likes.

A blow from our lover is as sweet as the eating of raisins.

He who loves a thing often talks of it.

The embrace at meeting is better than that at parting.

The ox that ploughs is not to be muzzled.

At the narrow passage there is no brother and no friend.

False ambition serves the neck.

The tongue is the neck's enemy.

The lazy person has no legs.

There are no fans in hell.

The lazy person has no legs.

In a town where you know nobody,
do whatever you like.

Wise men do not quarrel with each other.

The lazy are not fed on honey.

A well is not to be filled with dew.

When the eye does not see, the heart does not does not grieve.

Lending nurses enmity.

Your beloved is the object that you love, were it even a monkey.

The fire of reeds is of rapid extinction.

We must bear the medicine on account of its usefulness.

The one-eyed person is a beauty in the country of the blind.

Sometimes love has been implanted by one glance alone.

Man is only man by his money.

The corn passes from hand to hand, but comes at last to the mill.

Who possesses little has the first right to it.

The devil knows his Lord, but still practices evil.

When the angels present themselves, the devils abscond.

A blow that is profitable does not hurt the neck.

The camel has his projects, and the camel driver has his projects.

The day obliterates the promise of the night.

Anger with our friend, rather than constant friendship with our enemy.

A rose issues from thorns.

Lending is ruinous to lenders and borrowers.

The captain of the ship means one way, the sailor another.

If the sailors become too numerous, the ship sinks.

Everyone sells his rags in his own market.

A tree that affords you shade, do not order it to be cut down.

The liar is short-lived.

A single grain makes the balance heavier.

A single spark can burn the whole quarter.

A harlot does not repent; and water in a jar does not become sour milk.

A thousand cranes in the air are not worth one sparrow in the fist.

The butcher is not startled at the multiplicity of sheep.

Take the thief before he takes you.

The sultan teaches and is not to be taught.

Tear off the curtain of doubt by questions.

The efforts of the poor are their tears.

Hearsay is not like ocular testimony.

All that is known is not told.

The fool has his answer on the edge of his tongue.

The eye of the sun cannot be hidden.

The hawk is not frightened by the cries of the crane.

Take the book by its title; or, take the letter by its address.

Obedience to the tongue causes repentance.

Who gives not thanks to men, gives not thanks to God.

Custom is the twin of the innate character.

A tyrannical sultan is better than constant anarchy.

The ultimate remedy is a cautery.

On the day of victory no fatigue is felt.

The village saint is a clever impostor.

If you see a wall inclining, run from under it.

Who wants a thing is blind to its faults.

A well from which you drink, throw not a stone into it.

If the wind blows, it enters at every crevice.

When the stomach is concerned, wisdom withdraws.

Ignorance that supports me is better than wisdom
which I must support.

The husband of the harlot is a base wretch by his own testimony.

He who introduces himself between the onion and the peel,
does not go forth without its strong smell.

The thief who understands his business does not steal
from his own quarter of the town.

The mare is not to be valued according to its housing
and its ornaments in front.

❖❖❖

Ethiopian Proverbs (33)

A trial between brothers has no winners or losers.

A man with too much ambition cannot sleep in peace.

A village without elderly is unhappy.

As long as fire stays in one’s breast, it does not cool down.

Do not blame God for having created the tiger,
but thank him for not giving it wings.

Eggs should never be beaten with stones.

Eggs and metal should not be put in the same sack.

Equality is not easy, but superiority is painful.

Eyes watch but cannot take.

Great fires erupt from tiny sparks.

If your cornfield is far from your house, the birds will eat your corn.

Intelligence is a fruit picked in the nieghbor's garden.

It is better to be kind to our neighbours than to cross
the world to offer incense to our ancestors.

It is not possible to dodge the arrow before it has been thrown.

One rind is enough to tie a thousand pieces of wood.

Praise and truth are revealed slowly.

Sorrow is like rice in the store; if a basketful is
removed everyday, it will come to an end at last.

The same water never runs into the same river.

The monkey is a thief because it does not work.

The chief's wisdom is a mesh of old stories, good and bad.

The heart is not a knee, it does not bend.

The camel does not see the bend in its neck.

The sore is cured but the scar remains..

The leopard does not eat fish.
A leader does not waste time on minutia.

Those of the mean people are consumed on the celebration day.

Unity is strength, division is weakness.

Wearing a mended dress is better than being naked.

When cutting, look at the age of the machete.

When your neighbour is wrong you point a finger,
but when you are wrong you hide.

Who created thunder does not fear it.

Whoever walks out cannot leave a banana on the fire.

Whoever walks with unworthy people becomes unworthy.

You think of water when the well is empty.

❖❖❖

Fulani Proverbs (108)

The Fulani people one of the largest ethnic groups in the Sahel and West Africa. They are bound together by the Fula language.

Prevention of desire equals theft of possessions.

He who wears trousers of iron will not sit down.

A bird that agrees to be caught will find a way of escape.

However much milk the cow has it will not milk butter.

However swift a man, he will not outstrip his shadow.

The flight of the eagle will not stop that of the sandfly.

He who takes wages for work must needs perform it.

Wood near the fire will catch.

What cleverness hides, cleverness will reveal.

Be a dog ever so quick to start it will not catch
a monkey swarming up a tree.

The needs of the monkey are not those of the anteater.

Wealth is like smoke.

Hawks will not carry off the fowl destined to crow.

Where a big drum is beaten a small one must not be.

He who has no authority will not have ceremonial drums.

A single bracelet, even of silver, will not tinkle.

Few bewail a fool's misfortune.

An axe for wax will not cut rock.

A rat has never lost its hole.

He who stores will take; he who does not store will not take.

The owner of the bed knows his bed bug.

Those with the same fur enter the same hole.

When you see a monkey on a tree it has already seen you.

If you go up a tree you know how to come down.

Patience will not spoil.

The owner has authority to work.

A porcupine will not mind needle grass.

Tomorrow is very close.

To run and stop is not bravery.

A sharpened knife will not butcher a dead cow.

The satisfaction of a full man is of no use to a hungry man.

If a knife is lacking, a strip of bark will cut.

Be it ever so dark the hand will not miss the mouth.

Better manure than unfertile soil.

Continued beating kills the snake.

It is little that a talkative man escapes.

What one man eats and is satisfied by, another eats and dies.

What a knife has not cut a strip of bark will not cut.

Be the town ever so far there is another beyond it.

All that is in the heart is written in the face.

A dog with a full mouth will not bark.

If the salt is stored, the soup will not be good.

The snake is feared because of its mouth.

God will not drive flies away from a tailless cow.

Not every storm cloud falls in rain.

A satisfied man does not know what a hungry man feels.

An old man will not dance to make laughter.

A market is not held for the sake of one person.

Constant seeing is the lesson for an ignorant man.

One bean spoiled the beans.

A long beard does not prevent a house going to bed hungry.

A borrowed thing will not fulfill your desire.

If speech is silver, patience is gold.

Be the cow ever so poor it is not like a wild animal.

The tool to hand will be used.

What is in the heart will lead to the mouth.

Hot water is no playground for a frog.

Better a mistake at the beginning than at the end.

The anteater's grief is not the monkey's.

Dreaming of eating will not satisfy the hungry.

Be the lid ever so small it will not go in the pot.

The darkness of night will not prevent morn.

By crawling a child begins to walk.

The father's friend is no friend of the son.

A greedy man will not die till he feels shame.

Greed will take you where you would not be.

To learn and to be able is better than to beg.

A blind man needs not to buy a mirror.

Ignorance of a thing is darker than darkness.

A man who does one bad action will stoop to another.

A hen does not play with a cat.

Silence itself is eloquent.

He who rides the horse of greed at a gallop
will pull it up at the door of shame.

Better ignorance than bad news:
Where ignorance is bliss it is folly to be wise.

If familiarity were useful water would not cook fish.

Victory is a thing that is remembered.

What one man eats and is satisfied by, another eats and dies.

Whatever the hyena does by night
at dawn it goes home.

Worms that live on mahogany do not know that dates are sweet.

If you do not rise when you do not want to,
you will not arrive when you want to.

Better to see the world than not to see it.

However sweet talk, silence is better.

Clouds are the sign of rain.

He who gives you a little will give you much.

A dog with a full mouth will not bark.

A dog once burnt will leave ash covered embers alone.

Envy is prosperity's manure.

Be a dog ever so quick to start it will not catch
a monkey swarming up a tree.

One man's fall is another's uprising.

The feet rest but the heart is not at ease.

If pleasant it will be shortlived, if unpleasant longlived.

Concentration brings near the distant camp.

The yes eat not but they know what will satisfy.

Where the bone is softest there it will be gnawed.

Hope nourishes the living.

The hole of lying is not deep.

Anything that releases you from a dilemma is useful.

Better dislike than contempt.

However much the beetle is afraid
it will not stop the lizard swallowing it.

A stranger though he has a bed will return home.

Departure on a journey is not death.

A dog once burnt will leave ash covered embers alone.

A building of sand falls as you build.

There is no doctor on the day of death.

If love is a sickness, patience is the remedy.

He whom talk killed had forgotten how to keep silent.

Talk gets a talkative man into trouble.

If an elephant enters the forest and breaks trees
it will not stop the hare breaking grass.

❖❖❖

Ga Proverbs (42)

Ga is a Kwa language, part of the Niger–Congo family. It is very closely related to Adangme, and together they form the Ga–Dangme branch within Kwa. It is spoken in Ghana.

The eyes of a stranger may be very large,
but he does not see the inner things of the town.

A bad person is better than an empty house.

A man is not lean without cause.

If a thief says he knows how to steal, let him steal a cannon.

Gunpowder and fire do not agree.

Hate has no medicine.

A tree which has no fork, its ascent is difficult.

No one gives a pig to a hyena to keep.

He who has wine says it is good.

Nobody is twice a fool.

An old broom is better than a new one.

If the horse is mad, he who sits upon it is not also mad.

A good word removes anger.

The days of poverty are more than the days of superfluity.

A hot needle burns the thread.

A quiet man makes not the noise of an elephant.

Were no elephant in the jungle,
the buffalo would be a great animal.

It is the ear that troubles the mouth.

A debtor does not get angry.

A crab does not beget a bird.

Two crocodiles do not live in one hole.

No sleep, no dream.

One bad nut spoils all.

Clear water is not wanted for quenching fire.

Nobody wars with ghosts.

A dead goat does not fear the knife.

If stretching were wealth, the cat would be rich.

The brook does not ascend the mountain.

Quarrel is not a food which is eaten.

A good word removes anger.

A young crocodile does not die in the river.

A stick that goes into fire will begin to burn.

A child does not break a land tortoise,
but a child knows how to break a snail.

Earth and heaven do not come together.

The mouth does not know that its master is afraid.

An elephant does not eat small berries.

The cat does not cease to cry "miau."

A river moves a river on.

A blind man does not show the way to a blind man.

Nobody hates anybody without cause.

A cat is not sold in a bag, but openly produced.

A hyena does not drive a cow.

❖❖❖

Ghanaian Proverbs (001-050)

A child can pass through a lion’s hole.

A mother’s womb is technicolor; it gives birth
to any kind and character of children.

A night without roosters will still end.

A chicken that keeps scratching the dung-hill
will soon find the mother’s thigh bones.

A man who rides a crazy horse is crazier still.

A tune is made meaningful by lyrics; a point
is elucidated by analogies and idioms.

A raven's age matters not when there are grasshoppers.

A fowl shuns the poisonous worm.

A rooster prays in his own way.

A secret belongs to one person.

A village pounds their grain at night,
only when they have something to hide.

A rope which is pulled for a long time, breaks.

An aging man gets closer to his land and an
aging husband closer to his wife.

Another person's heart is a wilderness.

As the chimp gets higher and higher climbing
the tree it exposes its unflattering behind.

Because he hardly closes his mouth the fool's teeth suffer from frost.

Being a burglar with a cough and supplicating to God
with a grudge in the heart are not productive.

Better a single decision maker than a thousand advisors.

By coming and going, a bird weaves its nest.

Do not open the mouth of a snake to see its teeth.

Don't blame the darkness if you bump into a pole.

Dreams can be told but not acted.
It is sometimes easy to say a thing,
while you can’t do it.

Even though the sound of the horn is not pleasant,
it is still blown by a man's mouth.

Every thing is good when it is used properly.

Gast differences among people are in
the realm of character, not anatomy.

God’s displeasure is the serious thing; that of others can be endured.

Grumbling causes the slave to be sold.

Half of one’s strength in conflict situations is one’s verbal skills.

Hate has no medicine.

Having little knowledge is like having
your hands tied around your neck.

He is dying of his own bad habits.

He who leaves truth behind, returns to it.

He who feeds you keeps an eye on you.

He who seems to be for you may be working against you.

He who marries a real beauty is seeking trouble.

He who eats alone dies alone – without mourners.

Hoe and slash is your father and mother.

However rich a man is, it is not right to plunder his things with big pans.

If the young palm tree wants to stay alive, it grows next to the odum tree.

If the stone falls on the pot, woe to the pot;
if the pot falls on the stone, woe to the pot.— Ghanaian ❖

If a mouse enters into the hole of a snake, forget about it.

If two proverbs are not similar, one is not used to explain the other.

If an arrow has not entered deeply, then its removal is not hard.

If something doesn't please you,
it makes everything else bitter to you.

If the neighbor is quarrelsome, they will make thier own fence.

If you have some food in your mouth, and you are roasting something, it becomes well roasted.

If you wish to kill a crocodile, quickly rap on its egg.

If you collect peppers one by one,
the plant grows well; but if you break the stem, it dies.

If you don't farm you are not eating.

If you come near the river, you will hear the crab cough.

❖❖❖

Ghanaian Proverbs (051-100)

If you want to lean on a tree, first make sure it can hold you.

It is not only one person who bathes in the witch's water.

It is foolhardy to climb two trees at once
just because one has two feet.

It is not becoming to uncover one's behind to cover the face.

It is not the cook's fault when the cassava
turns out to be hard and tasteless.

It is only one bad palm tree that spoils the whole lot of palm wine.

Kindness with words is as readily
available as goods in the market.

Kinship is like the scales; it keeps one on balance.

Little palm tree, stop crying, you child is the tall palm tree.

Man must always be happy in order to perform well.

Misfortunes do not have set times for coming.

Misfortunes do not come only to slaves.

Money is like the waters of a swelling river, it flows away.

Never ride in a boat made of clay.

No matter who you are you will never
let your cow sink into the mud.

Old woman, if you are quarrelsome, make your own fence!

Once you throw your spear, it is gone.

One man's enemy is another man's friend.

One repeatedly is a big bunch.

One does not forego sleeping
because of the possibility of nightmares.

One palm nut cannot be peeled twice.

One piece of green wood is enough
to stop the others from burning.

One's character is written in stone.

One’s name remains above the grave.

Only a wise person can solve a difficult problem.

Owl, why are you so quiet? I am quiet because of words.

Relatives are a better defense than a fortress.

Remorse never comes first.

Some proverbs bring a quarrel; and others finish a quarrel.

Struggle farming, don't see them eating.

Teeth are all friends among each other.

The old woman looks after her hens
and the hens look after the old woman.

The chief is only as strong as his people.

The child of a snake is snake.

The horse has four legs but still falls sometimes.

The death that passed already, even if
they tell it to you today does not cause sorrow.

The army of the palm tree is its branches.

The horse can take you to the battlefield
but cannot do the fighting for you.

The beast of burden will die, but its workload remains.

The blood soup made of one palm nut is shared in little drops.

The dog does not worry when the
chicken runs over to the bones.

The dead are no longer terrible.

The drum that beats well is the one that breaks.

The grasshopper which is always
near its mother eats the best food.

The orphan does not rejoice after a heavy breakfast.

The pains of the crocodile are known only to the hippopotamus.

The one who visits you is better than
the one who sends you greetings.

The witch is going! The witch is going! but
if you are not a witch you don't turn around to look.

The mouth of an elderly man is without teeth,
but never without words of wisdom.

One man’s curse is another man’s blessing.

❖❖❖

Ghanaian Proverbs (101-141)

The wasp says that several regular trips
to a mud pit enables it to build a house.

The old lady doesn't wear properly the rag that is tied
about one's chest when mourning for a close relative.

The strength of the palm tree is in its branches.

The last quail to fly is the one struck by the hunting sticks.

The sound of a small baby can be heard easily in heaven.

The poor man laid an egg
and the rich man hatched it.

The prickly branches of the palm tree
does not show preference even to friends.

The one who fetches the water is
the one who is likely to break the pot.

The old woman's meat is vegetables.

The Princess has all rights in her home.

The kingdom of the mushroom is the stem.

There is something better somewhere.

There is no medicine against old age.

There is no distinction among the common
baskets made of palm branches.

They do not build in the red ant's village.

Those who farm little, harvest less.

Though the lion and the antelope happen to live in the same forest,
the antelope still has time to grow up.

To eat with speed causes one to spit out continuously.

To fight with everyone can result in shortage of pallbearers at your funeral.

To hunt in the morning is to meet animals.

Two calabashes floating in a basin of water will touch each other,
but not damage each other.

Unity is strength.

Until the lion has his or her own storyteller,
the hunter will always have the best part of the story.

Wealth usually comes in walking but exits running.

What do eyes and friendship have in common?
Minor incidents can damage both.

When the bag tears, the shoulders get a rest.

When your eyes are poked your grip on someone’s throat loosens.

When a wild pig walks in the daytime,
something has caused it to leave its hiding place.

When they gossip about someone listen as if it were about you.

When the palm nuts ripen, you carry half and I carry half.

When you are at home, your troubles can never defeat you.

Where there is wisdom, the well doesn’t run dry.

Wherever a wise man goes, he goes with his wisdom.

Who follows the elephant will have no problems.

Wind is never caught by hand.

Work very hard at what you do;
dine as well as you can afterwards.

You can tell if a house is good if a
lot of children are playing around it.

You must be patient to solve a case or a problem.

You make a new arrow by comparing it to an old one.

Your close friend can be your worst enemy and vice versa.

Your words reveal the kind of person you are.

❖❖❖

Hausa Proverbs (101-200)

One bracelet will not jingle.

He who takes one sip isn't satisfied.

Speech is pulling a straw out of thatch
once out it cannot be replaced.

Throwing water over yourself once won't get rid of the dirt.

One tree does not make a forest.

However long the night, dawn will break.

One beats iron while still hot.

Character is a line on stone, none can rub it out.

Speed breeds delay.

Thanks cause the increase of gifts.

The wily man doesn't buy snuff till he has sampled it.

However good garlic is, it will not be as good as an onion.

It is the mouth that cuts the throat.

A bone in a mortar is no luck for the dog.

Let each bird cry according to its kind.

If you hear a jar rattling, it is not full.

He who farms is spared the trouble of buying corn.

He who loves you won't see your faults.

Water can drown the ferryman, much more the learner.

Because of deceit day does not refuse to break.

Birth is the remedy for death.

One bean spoils the flour.

Reducing debt is better than swelling it.

When lies finish in a free man's mouth,
he will become a slave and be sold.

The hole of lying is easily filled up.

If there is neither food nor drink, plain water is medicine.

It's not right for a race horse to despise the pace of a pony.

A hare is caught not by sitting down.

Every dog rests at his own door.

A meatless bone is the dog's.

Life in the world is like washing-you knead him who kneads you.

The quarrel that doesn't concern you is pleasant to hear about.

He who remembers last year finds not this year good.

One does not tear one's coat because of the cleverness of sewing.

The deceits of women are 99.
The one which completes the 100,
the devil knows it not.

Only by waiting is character known.

Tobacco is different from millet flour.

A poor man's drum is his belly.

One knows a man by his trade even if it is drinking beer.

Death is the revealer of secrets.

Living in peace is better than living as a king.

The knife for flaying an elephant needs not size but sharpness.

The sick man's property belongs to the doctor.

One horse in the racecourse runs the fastest.

A thing put out to dry will not stop the sun.

Every tomato is red.

Fear in the forest is shame at home.

Sharpening a knife doesn't frighten a horse.

Your enemy will not praise you, even though
you catch a leopard and give it to him.

A fish is a king in the water.

A poor man's house is no place for a war horse.

Galloping in water is the remedy for a vicious horse.

One day of prosperity is better than a year of poverty.

However debased the lion it will not play with a pig.

Put out the fire while it is small.

Patience is the universal remedy.

The strength of women is but a plentitude of talk.

Send a boy where he wants to go and you'll see his best pace.

Trade is not mutual help.

If the ear hears news of evil, the neck escapes being severed.

The fish in the well experiences no pleasure.

A good thing sells itself.

The house of one's intimates isn't a market.

The craftsman should be recognized by the tools of his craft.

A boy knows not fire till it burns him.

A needle with a piece of string will not be lost.

A smiling face removes unhappiness.

A calf will not follow horses.

A horse knows its rider.

However poor the elephant, it will be worth more than ten frogs.

Ability to swim is preservation of life.

A cow is milked by gentle handling.

However bad the bread it is better than cattle dung.

He who will not work of his own accord
will find himself forced to work by another.

The boaster dies before his days are fulfilled.

A year is a day if life continues.

The mouth knows what it will say, not what it will be answered.

One will distinguish between the bitter gourd and the sweet.

He who is angry with the world must be tired of it.

Troubles don't last forever.

Whatever the avarice of a midwife,
she doesn't come to the house of a bachelor.

Hunger is the remedy for poor cooking.

Having is better than wanting,

Haste is not strength.

Even if the forest is undone, the elephant is above running.

One does not throw away the stick that drives off poverty.

A sack is no load for a goat.

The goat learns wisdom from a cropped ear.

Patience is wealth to its possessor.

The mouth of any who eats onion will smell.

The foot does not stay where there is no ground.

The elephant's spoor treads out the camel's.

A shining face goes with a full belly.

An egg in the mouth is better than a fowl in the fowl house.

Without trouble there is no profit.

He who wants an exchange despises his own.

It is difficult to beat a drum with a sickle.

Guile excels strength.

Plenty and envy lie down together.

Even today the remedy for dirt is water.

❖❖❖

Hausa Proverbs (001-100)

Hausa Proverbs (201-274)