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African Proverbs That Run Deep

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African proverbs are not mere witty statements. Buried within the flowery word are deep meaning and timeless life lessons. In family or community gatherings, the elderly often punctuate their speech with proverbs which also serve as anecdotes to drive home their point.

The most fascinating thing about African proverbs is that so much can be said using few words. From life to love to friendship, there are African proverbs for every aspect of life. As early as six years, parents start speaking to their children using proverbs.

ALSO READ: 20 African Proverbs On Friendship Explained

There are African proverbs that are peculiar to a particular tribe or region. One thing we do know is that translating African proverbs often water down their meanings. Nevertheless, it is still necessary that we do so for the sake of Africans in the diaspora who may not be familiar with most African indigenous languages.

Thoughtful African proverbs curated by African Vibes

A cutting word is worse than a bowstring, a cut may heal, but the cut of the tongue does not.
African proverbs – A cutting word is worse than a bowstring, a cut may heal, but the cut of the tongue does not. 
A clever king is the brother of peace. African Proverb
A clever king is the brother of peace. 
The big game often appears when the hunter has given up the hunt for the day. African Proverb
The big game often appears when the hunter has given up the hunt for the day.
The sun never sets without fresh news. - African Proverb
The sun never sets without fresh news.
When the food is cooked there is no need to wait before eating it.
When the food is cooked there is no need to wait before eating it. 
Ingratitude is sooner or later fatal to its author.
Ingratitude is sooner or later fatal to its author.
Knowledge without wisdom is like water in the sand.
Knowledge without wisdom is like water in the sand.
When a handshake passes the elbow, it becomes another thing.
When a handshake passes the elbow, it becomes another thing. – African Proverb
Lizard that ruined its mother’s burial, what did it expect others to do?
The lizard that ruined its mother’s burial, what did it expect others to do? – African Proverb
It is hunger that killed the man with many wives.
It is hunger that killed the man with many wives. – African Proverb
To get lost is to learn the way
To get lost is to learn the way – African Proverb
The fool who owns an ox is seldom recognized as a fool.
The fool who owns an ox is seldom recognized as a fool. – African Proverb
A termite grows up in dry wood, and yet comes to maturity.
A termite grows up in dry wood, and yet comes to maturity.
Be a mountain or lean on one.
Be a mountain or lean on one. – African Proverb
One who plants grapes by the roadside, and one who marries a pretty woman, share the same problem.
One who plants grapes by the roadside, and one who marries a pretty woman, share the same problem. – African Proverb
A woman’s polite devotion is her greatest beauty.
A woman’s polite devotion is her greatest beauty. 
Much talking does not make you a leader. - African proverb
Much talking does not make you a leader. – African proverb
A small house will hold a hundred friends.
A small house will hold a hundred friends.
Do not forget what is to be a sailor because of being a captain yourself.
Do not forget what is to be a sailor because of being a captain yourself. – African proverb
Instruction in youth is like engraving in stone.
Instruction in youth is like engraving in stone. 
In the moment of crisis, the wise build bridges, and the foolish build dams.
In the moment of crisis, the wise build bridges, and the foolish build dams. 
Wisdom is like fire. People take it from others.
Wisdom is like fire. People take it from others. – African proverb
Hunger is a good cook.
Hunger is a good cook – African Proverb
A warning to the wise is a blessing, to the fool an insult
A warning to the wise is a blessing, to the fool an insult. – African Proverb
It is mysterious if a baboon falls from a tree.
It is mysterious if a baboon falls from a tree.
Hold a true friend with both hands.
Hold a true friend with both hands. 
Every woman is beautiful
Every woman is beautiful until she speaks 
If you are filled with pride, then you will have no room for wisdom.
If you are filled with pride, then you will have no room for wisdom 
The mouth
The man who refuses to obey cannot command
Obey - command
The man who refuses to obey cannot command
King in Africa
A large chair does not make a king
Money as medicine
Money is not the medicine against death
Peace is worth
Peace is costly but it is worth the expense.
Lose & win
You always learn a lot more when you lose than when you win. 
Wisdom does not come overnight.
Wisdom does not come overnight 
”Not everyone who chased the zebra caught it, but he who caught it, chased it”
”Not everyone who chased the zebra caught it, but he who caught it chased it”
It takes a whole village to raise a child. - African proverbs
It takes a whole village to raise a child.
Do not rush the night—the sun will always rise for its own sake. - African Proverbs
Do not rush the night—the sun will always rise for its own sake.
It shall dawn again tomorrow. - African proverb
It shall dawn again tomorrow.
If you hold a snake by the head what is left is only a string.- African proverb
If you hold a snake by the head what is left is only a string.
A slave has no choice. - African proverb
A slave has no choice. 
"All cassavas have the same skin but not all taste the same." - African Proverb
“All cassavas have the same skin but not all taste the same.”
"He Who eats another man's food will have his own food eaten by others" - African Proverb
“He Who eats another man’s food will have his own food eaten by others” 
"When the music changes so does the dance" - African Proverb
“When the music changes so does the dance”
"The person who does not seize opportunity today will be unable to seize tomorrow’s opportunity" - African Proverb
“The person who does not seize opportunity today will be unable to seize tomorrow’s opportunity”
"Do not let what you cannot do tear from your hands what you can" - African Proverb
“Do not let what you cannot do tear from your hands what you can”

ALSO READ: 20 African Proverbs On Friendship Explained

"A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its place" - African Proverb
“A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its place” 
"When The Roots Are Deep There Is No Reason To Fear The Wind" - African Proverb
“When The Roots Are Deep There Is No Reason To Fear The Wind” 
"Those Who Have Not Crossed The River Yet Should Not Laugh At Those Who Are Drowning"
“Those Who Have Not Crossed The River Yet Should Not Laugh At Those Who Are Drowning”
“When The Roots Are Deep There Is No Reason To Fear The Wind”
“When The Roots Are Deep There Is No Reason To Fear The Wind”
If You Are Filled With Pride, Then You Will Have No Room For Wisdom.
“If You Are Filled With Pride, Then You Will Have No Room For Wisdom.”
A happy man marries the girl he loves, but a happier man loves the girl he marries.
“A happy man marries the girl he loves, but a happier man loves the girl he marries.”
African proverb that run very deep
The gem cannot be polished without friction, and a person cannot be perfected without trials.
African Proverbs that run very deep
The past is your head, but the future is in your hands.
African Proverbs
“A large chair does not make a king.”
African Proverbs
“An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep.”
African Proverb. "He who thinks he is leading and has no one following him is only taking a walk."
“He who thinks he is leading and has no one following him is only taking a walk.”
African Proverb. “Anything that the eagle gives birth to will not fail to carry off chickens.”
“Anything that the eagle gives birth to will not fail to carry off chickens.”
African Proverbs
” An Abundance Of Food At Your Neighbour’s Will Not Satisfy Your Hunger.”
African Proverb
” A Flea Can Trouble A Lion More Than A Lion Can Trouble A Flea.”
African Proverb
“Eat when the food is ready; speak when the time is right.”
African Proverb
“Even the best cooking pot will not produce food.”
African Proverb
“What you help a child to love can be more important than what you help him to learn.”
African Proverb
“If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent a night with a mosquito”

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