Ovambo Proverbs (001-100)

The Ovambo people, also called Aawambo or Ovawambo, are a Southern African tribal ethnic group. They are the largest ethnic group of Namibia

Old people’s talk is not scorned; they saw the sun first.

The leaf of a tree does not speak,
nor does the road tell the traveler what lies ahead.

Without a husband you are naked,
without a companion you are in need.

One elephant does not raise a cloud of dust.

The cowless man cannot get rid of his poverty.

No fence is built for the eyes.

A bad thing leads to good fortune.

A wicked heart is poverty; hate is hunger.

The lazy man is not ashamed of begging.

One cannot send other people's children
without giving them anything.

Start from the bottom to reach the top.

Many are cursed for the crime of one.

A stump is left where the tree was felled.

A big cow is known by its hooves.

Trouble has its reward.

A gun that does not go off leaves its owner in peril.

A wanderer with a mouth will not get lost.

Water from a salt well puts out a house on fire.

Man knows where he came from but not where he is going.

Even a slow walker will arrive.

An heir also inherits quarrels.

The early wanderer found a turtle.

A hen with chicks is on the lookout for crows.

A poor man's property does not increase.

A jackal will not gore a bull.

The friend of a quarrel picker is quarrelsome.

A word of peace redeems a crime.

If you do not have thoughts you do not have understanding.

There is not a bird that does not know its eggs.

One cannot get beans out of wild melons.

An old man is not to be laughed at.

There is not one game without an end.

Eyes are great wealth.

A traveler will not consume all his provisions.

A raven desires colorfulness just
as an unenterprising man desires cattle.

The dead man is abused.

Many kings do not rule the same country at the same time.

It is pleasant to wag one's tongue about other people's business.

Stupidity does not tolerate wisdom.

An old dog does not fight with a whelp.

One does not cross a river with a fool.

New clothes have no lice.

He who committed a mortal sin carries a spear.

The tongue is harder than a stick.

A child is not scolded while he eats.

A child much spoken of does not get very far.

One does not go into the bush with valuables.

There is no hardship that will not end,
no trouble that will not retreat.

An orphan is not in the habit of weeping.

A thoughtless man is known by his speech.

He who complains about everything brings home trouble.

Let him who shook the fruit down pick them too.

A house without a housewife is not a house.

A cranky child has not been spanked.

Illness is followed by death, leaving home by staying away.

There is no fire when there is no wood.

Even the proud man has to die; even the defiant will turn to dust.

Hostility does not give birth to a child.

He who has bad breath cannot smell it.

Every man has a name.

He who guards himself will not perish.

You cannot do without water, even if it drowned your child.

In a crowd one neither gets well fed nor starves.

There is no hardship without an end, no game without a parting.

The sun does not rise for one man alone.

Big bones are not cooked in the same pot.

Do not break the branch you climbed.

When a poor man cries for help, only God will aid him.

A wealthy person is a selfish person.

Stupidity is in the mouth.

A cow among calves does not grow old.

Little birds do not plunge into arrows.

The ox will not flee the hare.

Place value on defending your home.

Do not light a torch from both ends.

A tree does not bear fruit before it is full grown.

He whose head has been cut off does not walk.

If you do not gather firewood you cannot keep warm.

Peace at home takes war to other countries.

If the leader of the hunting party gets tired, then all are tired.

No warrior without hardships.

Wolves discuss the back of the leader.

A mouse with but one hole easily meets its death.

Peace is more fattening than food.

Peace is not sold for evil.

A supposed antelope is not cooking in the pot.

The end of the journey is reached by moving ahead.

The young elephant is born with a thick skin.

He who has neither father nor mother has no wisdom.

The arrow you dropped will be collected by someone else.

A mouse eats the food in the house.

Cat and mouse cannot be neighbors long.

There must be peace in the district
to have law and order in the country.

People are not alike like guinea fowl, n
or identical like quail.

Do not put off today's work till tomorrow.

A bat is not a bird.

A wealthy person is a selfish person.

The frog would like to have wings.

Small termites collapse the roof.

Do not belittle the wife, she is the home.

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Ovambo Proverbs (101-223)