African Proverbs are the pride of African culture which offers wisdom , truth, and discovery of ideas, as well as life lessons in just one sentence. It has become associated with the wise, elderly and grey haired who pride themselves in the knowledge of these proverbs & most often than not. The beauty of proverbs is the universality of their meaning, everyone can relate to them in some way, on some level. . It is usually atypical for one to tell an African proverb and still be the one to explain the meaning Proverbs play an important part in African cultures all across the continent. This not withstanding you some of the greatest and mind blowing famous African proverbs & their meaning.

1. Only a fool tests the depths of a river with both feet.Meaning: you don’t jump straight into a solution without thinking about it first.

2. Sugarcane is sweetest at its joint.Meaning: Good and sweet things of life may appear difficult to achieve but in the end, it is worth it.

3. If you offend, ask for a pardon, if offended forgive.
Meaning: This is a simple s it sounds. If you upset someone, apologize to him/her. If someone upsets you, forgive him/her because what goes around comes around.

4. A restless feet may walk into a snake pit,.Meaning: if someone is busy doing nothing or is involved in what he does not know about, it is easy for him to get into trouble.

5. A man who pays respect to the great paves the way for his own greatness.Meaning: What goes around comes around so whatever you sow, you shall reap.

6. A roaring lion kills no game.Meaning: you cannot achieve or gain anything by mere sitting around & just talking about it.

7. Do not call the forest that shelters you a jungle.Meaning: Do not insult someone who is capable of taking your responsibility or taking care of you.

8. When a king has good counselors, his reign is peaceful.Meaning: what define a man is the circumstances & people around him and if they are good, he turns out good.

9. If a child washes his hands he could eat with kings.
Meaning: if you prepare & allow yourself to be well trained when you have the opportunity, you will achieve a lot and be favored in due course.

10. It takes a whole village to train a child.
Meaning: the society is responsible for the moral character it creates and everyone in a community should be responsible for helping train a child irrespective of who the parents are, offering correction when they are needed.



A man who has one finger pointing at another has three pointing towards himself.
Rain beats a leopard’s skin, but it does not wash out the spots (Ashanti)
Wood already touched by fire is not hard to set alight (Ashanti)
You do not teach the paths of the forest to an old gorilla (Congo)
He who is bitten by a snake fears a lizard (Uganda)
Wisdom is like a baobab tree; no one individual can embrace it (Akan and Ewe)
He who asks questions, cannot avoid the answers (Cameroon)
Because a man has injured your goat, do not go out and kill his bull (Kenya)
The dog’s bark is not might, but fright (Liberia)

By Chizzy Okoye


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