10 amazing African Proverbs and their meanings

Wahenga na wahenguzi hawakutupaka mafuta kwenye mgongo wa chupa waliponena...

Upon further research, these old folks of old had even more in depth sayings that passed on parable-esque wisdom to their descendants.

Below are nine African sayings that will probably change your life. Or make you laugh.

When you see an old woman squatting, you should leave her alone. Who knows how she is breathing?

Meaning: Mind your own business.

The fly that has no advisor follows a corpse into the grave.

Meaning: If you fail to seek or follow good advice then you shall mess yourself up.

Anger against a brother is felt on the flesh, not in the bone.

Meaning: Relatives should be forgiven and their transgressions forgotten. Erm, what?

When a handshake passes the elbow it becomes something else.

Meaning: Beware of strangers who are excessively familiar with you.

If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.

Meaning: When you have no purpose you’ll end up anywhere.

A man who sees a hen scattering poop should stop it. Who knows who will eat the leg?

Meaning: This is one I took particular issue with. But essentially, it means that if you see a woman sowing her oats indiscriminately you should warn her lest she ruins her chances of marriage.

Look for a dark goat in the daytime, you may not find it at night.

Meaning: You better strike when the iron is hot.

Send a child where it wants to go and you will see its true pace.

Meaning: Passion is directly proportional to effort.

Do not tell the man you sit on that he smells.

Meaning: Don’t complain about your benefactor or the people you rely on. Especially to them.

When preparing groundnuts for a blind man, you must keep whistling to prove you are not eating them.

Meaning: I have no clue if this is a real on or not. But the saying means that you must show all your hands during a deal to ensure you’re not doing anything underhanded. I think.


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