Swahili Proverbs (001-100)

The Swahili people (Waswahili) are an ethnic and cultural group inhabiting East Africa. Members primarily reside on the Swahili coast, in an area encompassing the Zanzibar archipelago, littoral Kenya, the Tanzania seaboard, and northern Mozambique.

Where there was a storm, there is calm.

A dull knife slaughters no chicken.

He who cracks the coconut must eat the cream.

Health is a crown and no one knows it save a sick person.

Where there are many people, there are many words.

A drowning man grasps at water.

Two bulls cannot live in one stable.

An axe without a handle does not cut firewood.

A lovely face does not need adornment.

Respect for a stupid person is stupidity.

A man on his death bed tells no lies.

A chicken crows not in the presence of a rooster.

The slow gait of the tortoise takes him far.

Words are silver, but answers are gold.

If you live with a lion, wear the skin of a crocodile.

Two lions do not kill each other.

A small pot boils quickly.

Every door has its own key.

A ruler cannot sleep.

A coconut cannot compete with a stone.

If you destroy a bridge, be sure you can swim.

Where there is drunkenness, there is trouble.

Once one has finished ringing, one should get out of the bell tower.

Pleasant words will draw a snake from its hole.

It is better to build bridges than walls.

Do not show on your face what you feel in your heart.

Borrowing is a wedding, paying back is mourning.

If you sow the wind, you will harvest a hurricane.

A poor man cannot afford to have whims.

A fly does not mind dying in coconut cream.

Not all that have claws are lions.

A bad coconut spoils the good ones.

If the natives eat rats, eat rats.

A change needed in a grandchild has to begin with the grandfather.

Greed never finishes.

The lion which moves silently is the one that eats the meat.

The tortoise does not bite the paw of a leopard.

Love blinds.

A child's play does not last long.

A distant fire does not burn.

Education is life, not books.

Death is blind.

War among grasshoppers delights the crow.

The country rooster does not crow in town.

He who gets blisters from the hoe handle will not die of hunger.

The rich man is a poor man indeed.

A lazy person chews empty coconut shells.

When you play with a lion, do not put your hand in its mouth.

Profit surpasses pride.

God is the real physician.

A house of procrastination is a bad house.

One who throws mud gets himself soiled as well.

Forgetting is the cure for suffering.

A person does not become clever by carrying books along.

Water does not boil if taken away from fire.

The bad craftsman quarrels with his tools.

A poet is a poor man.

Hearing is not seeing.

Even a beautiful woman is not without blemish.

Avoid those who always praise you.

A letter from the heart can be read on the face.

Do not abuse midwives while there is a delivery.

The beauty of the corn cob is apparent in the inside only.

God does not hide a liar.

Two crocodiles cannot agree.

A turban does not make a man civilized.

He who complains much does little.

When poverty crosses the threshold, love flies out of the window.

A stick can break a bone, but not a vice.

Too much fear creates slavery.

If a small mole appears, catch him,
even if you are hunting for its mother.

A child is like a precious stone, but also a heavy burden.

There is no shade without a tree.

Abuses are the result of seeing one another too often.

The secret of the water pot is known by the ladle.

One hand alone cannot carry a baby.

If a snake bites your neighbor, you too are in danger.

First work, then wages.

If a hunter kills a buffalo in the bush,
he must bring back a tail.

The chicken is no match for the knife.

Truth is the walking stick to grasp.

A trap without a bait catches nothing.

The leopard and the goat do not sleep in the same house.

A lazy person chews empty coconut shells.

The rich man is a poor man indeed.

Silence does not bring harm.

A hen does not break her own egg.

Words are silver, but answers are gold.

Eyes have no screen.

Yesterday and the day before yesterday are not like today.

A leopard is not embraced.

A bad workman blames his tools.

Beauty and pride go to the grave.

A person does not become clever by carrying books along.

Pleasant words will draw a snake from its hole.

Rest comes only after hardship.

Old droppings do not stink.

One man's fate is another man's lesson.

A frog likes water but not hot water.

When a tree dies at its roots, its branches dry up also.

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Swahili Proverbs (101-149)