We’ve already established that Nigerians love proverbs because of how they add flavour to their conversations, but did you know it’s not just a Nigerian thing? This love is also common in other African countries?

If you’ve taken notes on Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba proverbs, it’s time to take out your notepad again and get busy. This time, we virtually traversed Ghana, Kenya, Burundi and more for some African proverbs and their meanings. 

Klemeðoa (Kelemeðoa) metsia ñuifi o

Translation: The person who has gone into a patch of giant grass does not complain of skin irritation.

Meaning: This Ewe proverb from Togo means you should be ready to face inconveniences while trying to achieve success in life.

Umanika agatu wicaye mu kukamanura ugahaguruka

Translation: You can hang an item from where you are seated, but when you want to get it down, you have to stand up.

Meaning: This proverb from Burundi means it’s easier to start something than to complete it.

Alagaa gaafa kolfaa fira ofi gaafa rakko

Translation: The stranger is good for laughing; the relative for trouble.

Meaning: This Ethiopian proverb stresses the importance of cherishing your family members because they’re your first option when you’re in trouble.

Mpa-tsehla ha e bolaee

Translation: A full belly doesn’t kill.

Meaning: This South African proverb means it’s important to feed yourself before worrying about other things.

Ono agoorwa nkwibakaare

Translation: The one who is praised comes forth to chant.

Meaning: This Tanzanian proverb means acknowledging success is a great way to get people to do more.

E don tey wey yansh dey for back

Translation: Buttocks have occupied the backspace for a long time.


: It’s a Nigerian pidgin proverb that means there’s nothing new under the sun.

Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu

Translation: A person is a person through other persons.

Meaning: This Zulu proverb from South Africa preaches that no man is an island. We’re all connected and will always need each other.

Urya incuti ukinovora intuntu

Translation: When you eat your relatives, you lick agony.

Meaning: Another Burundi proverb that stresses the importance of putting family first and treating them right.

A Hura ja Mmotlana, boroko

Translation: Sleep is the poor man’s luxury.

Meaning: This proverb from Botswana preaches the importance of hardwork. You can’t sleep too much if you plan to be rich.

Ðevi ka akple gã mekaa nya gã o

Translation: A child can swallow a big morsel of food but can’t swallow big matters.

Meaning: This is an Ewe proverb from Ghana. It means young people can never have the life experiences of older folks.

Owuo atwedee ne nsa

Translation: Death has a long hand.

Meaning: This is a Twi proverb from Ghana that means fate can’t be avoided, and everyone will eventually die.

Maitiro enyu anotora nhaka yenyu

Translation: Your deeds determine your heritage.

Meaning: This Zimbabwean proverb means your actions go a long way in shaping your reputation.

Ukufa kukhala bophela

Translation: Death is the last kick of the dying horse.

Meaning: It’s a Xhosa proverb from South Africa that means things get tough when you’re about to have a big win.

You should read this next: 15 French Proverbs and Their Meanings



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