The Ultimate List of African Wise Proverbs and Inspiring Quotes

The Ultimate List of African Wise Proverbs and Inspiring Quotes

African Quotes on Wisdom

Wisdom is wealth. ~ Swahili
Wisdom is like a baobab tree; no one individual can embrace it. ~ Akan proverb
The fool speaks, the wise man listens. ~ Ethiopian proverb
Wisdom does not come overnight. ~ Somali proverb
The heart of the wise man lies quiet like limpid water. ~ Cameroon proverb
Wisdom is like fire. People take it from others. ~ Hema (DRC) proverb
Only a wise person can solve a difficult problem. ~ Akan proverb
Knowledge without wisdom is like water in the sand. ~ Guinean proverb
In the moment of crisis, the wise build bridges and the foolish build dams. ~ Nigerian proverb
If you are filled with pride, then you will have no room for wisdom. ~ African proverb
A wise person will always find a way. ~ Tanzanian proverb
Nobody is born wise. ~ African proverb
A man who uses force is afraid of reasoning. ~Kenyan proverb
Wisdom is not like money to be tied up and hidden. ~ Akan proverb

The Ultimate List of African Wise Proverbs and Inspiring Quotes

African Quotes on Learning

Learning expands great souls. ~ Namibian proverb
To get lost is to learn the way. ~ African proverb
By crawling a child learns to stand. ~ African proverb
If you close your eyes to facts, you will learn through accidents. ~ African proverb
He who learns, teaches. ~ Ethiopian proverb
Wealth, if you use it, comes to an end; learning, if you use it, increases. ~ Swahili proverb
By trying often, the monkey learns to jump from the tree. ~ Buganda proverb
You always learn a lot more when you lose than when you win. ~ African proverb
You learn how to cut down trees by cutting them down. ~ Bateke proverb
The wise create proverbs for fools to learn, not to repeat. ~ African proverb
What you help a child to love can be more important than what you help him to learn. ~African proverb
By the time the fool has learned the game, the players have dispersed. ~Ashanti proverb
One who causes others misfortune also teaches them wisdom. ~ African proverb
You do not teach the paths of the forest to an old gorilla. ~Congolese proverb
What you learn is what you die with. ~ African proverb
Instruction in youth is like engraving in stone. ~Moroccan Proverb
When you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him. ~Ashanti Proverb
Ears that do not listen to advice, accompany the head when it is chopped off. ~African Proverb
Advice is a stranger; if he’s welcome he stays for the night; if not, he leaves the same day. ~Malagasy Proverb
Traveling is learning. ~Kenyan Proverb
Where there are experts there will be no lack of learners. ~Swahili Proverb

The Ultimate List of African Wise Proverbs

African proverbs on Peace and Leadership

Peace is costly but it is worth the expense. ~Kenyan proverb
War has no eyes ~ Swahili saying
When a king has good counselors, his reign is peaceful. ~Ashanti proverb
Peace does not make a good ruler. ~Botswana proverb
A fight between grasshoppers is a joy to the crow. ~ Lesotho proverb
There can be no peace without understanding. ~Senegalese proverb
Milk and honey have different colors, but they share the same house peacefully. ~ African proverb
If you can’t resolve your problems in peace, you can’t solve war. ~ Somalian proverb
When there is peace in the country, the chief does not carry a shield. ~Ugandan proverb
When two elephants fight, it is the grass that gets trampled. ~ Swahili saying
Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far. ~ West African proverb
He who thinks he is leading and has no one following him is only taking a walk. ~ Malawian proverb
An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep. ~ Ghanaian proverb
He who is destined for power does not have to fight for it. ~ Ugandan proverb
Do not forget what is to be a sailor because of being a captain yourself. ~ Tanzanian proverb
Without a leader, black ants are confused. ~Ugandan proverb
He who refuses to obey cannot command. ~ Kenyan proverb
He who fears the sun will not become chief. ~Ugandan proverb
A large chair does not make a king. ~ Sudanese proverb
Because he lost his reputation, he lost a kingdom. ~ Ethiopian proverb
Where a woman rules, streams run uphill. ~ Ethiopian proverb
A leader who does not take advice is not a leader. ~ Kenyan proverb
If the cockroach wants to rule over the chicken, then it must hire the fox as a body-guard. ~ Sierra Leone proverb

The Ultimate List of African Inspiring Quotes

African Quotes on Unity and Community

Unity is strength, division is weakness. ~ Swahili proverb
Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable. ~ Bondei proverb
It takes a village to raise a child. ~ African proverb
Cross the river in a crowd and the crocodile won’t eat you. ~ African proverb
Many hands make light work. ~ Haya (Tanzania) proverb
Where there are many, nothing goes wrong. ~ Swahili proverb
Two ants do not fail to pull one grasshopper. ~ Tanzanian proverb
A single bracelet does not jingle. ~ Congolese proverb
A single stick may smoke, but it will not burn. ~ African proverb
If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. ~ African proverb

The Ultimate List of African Wise Proverbs and Inspiring Quotes

African Quotes on Family

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 united family eats from the same plate. ~ Baganda proverb
A family tie is like a tree, it can bend but it cannot break. ~ African proverb
If I am in harmony with my family, that’s success. ~ Ute proverb
Brothers love each other when they are equally rich. ~ African proverb
Dine with a stranger but save your love for your family. ~ Ethiopian proverb
There is no fool who is disowned by his family. ~ African proverb
Home affairs are not talked about on the public square. ~ African proverb
If relatives help each other, what evil can hurt them? ~ African proverb
He who earns calamity, eats it with his family. ~ African proverb
Dine with a stranger but save your love for your family. ~ Ethiopian proverb
The old woman looks after the child to grow its teeth and the young one in turn looks after the old woman when she loses her teeth. ~ Akan (Ghana, Ivory Coast) proverb
When brothers fight to the death, a stranger inherits their father’s estate. ~ Ibo proverb
Children are the reward of life. ~ African proverb

African Proverbs on Friendship

To be without a friend is to be poor indeed. ~ Tanzanian proverb
Hold a true friend with both hands. ~ African proverb
The friends of our friends are our friends. ~ Congolese proverb
A friend is someone you share the path with. ~ African proverb
Show me your friend and I will show you your character. ~ African proverb
Return to old watering holes for more than water; friends and dreams are there to meet you. ~ African proverb
Between true friends even water drunk together is sweet enough. ~ African proverb
A small house will hold a hundred friends. ~ African proverb
A close friend can become a close enemy.~ African proverb
Bad friends will prevent you from having good friends. ~ Gabon proverb

The Ultimate List of African Wise Proverbs and Inspiring Quotes

African Proverbs on Money, Wealth, Riches and Poverty

Make some money but don’t let money make you. ~ Tanzania
It is no shame at all to work for money. ~ Africa
He who loves money must labor. ~ Mauritania
By labor comes wealth. ~ Yoruba
Poverty is slavery. ~Somalia
One cannot both feast and become rich. ~ Ashanti
One cannot count on riches. ~ Somalia
Money is sharper than the sword. – Ashanti
A man’s wealth may be superior to him. ~ Cameroon
The rich are always complaining. ~ Zulu
The wealth which enslaves the owner isn’t wealth. ~ Yoruba
The poor man and the rich man do not play together. ~ Ashanti
Lack of money is lack of friends; if you have money at your disposal, every dog and goat will claim to be related to you. ~ Yoruba
With wealth one wins a woman. ~ Uganda
Dogs do not actually prefer bones to meat; it is just that no one ever gives them meat. ~ Akan
A real family eats the same cornmeal. ~ Bayombe
If your cornfield is far from your house, the birds will eat your corn. ~ Congo
Money can’t talk, yet it can make lies look true. ~ South Africa
One cannot count on riches. ~ Somalia
Money is not the medicine against death. ~ Ghana
He who receives a gift does not measure. ~ Africa
Much wealth brings many enemies. – Swahili
There is no one who became rich because he broke a holiday, no one became fat because he broke a fast. ~ Ethiopia
What you give you get, ten times over. ~ Yoruba
Greed loses what it has gained. ~ Africa
You become wise when you begin to run out of money. ~ Ghana
If ten cents does not go out, it does not bring in one thousand dollars. ~ Ghana
You should not hoard your money and die of hunger. – Ghana
Wealth diminishes with usage; learning increases with use. ~ Nigeria
Wisdom is not like money to be tied up and hidden. ~ Akan
Having a good discussion is like having riches ~ Kenya
Knowledge is better than riches. ~ Cameroon
You must act as if it is impossible to fail. ~ Ashanti
Do not let what you cannot do tear from your hands what you can. ~ Ashanti

The Ultimate List of African Wise Proverbs and Inspiring Quotes

African Proverbs on Beauty

One who plants grapes by the road side, and one who marries a pretty woman, share the same problem. ~Ethiopian Proverb
Beautiful from behind, ugly in front. ~Uganda Proverb
The skin of the leopard is beautiful, but not his heart. ~Baluba proverb
Ugliness with a good character is better than beauty. ~Nigerian Proverb
A beautiful one hurts the heart. ~African Proverb
Anyone who sees beauty and does not look at it will soon be poor. ~Yoruba Proverb
The surface of the water is beautiful, but it is no good to sleep on. ~Ghanaian Proverb
If there is character, ugliness becomes beauty; if there is none, beauty becomes ugliness. ~Nigerian Proverb
You are beautiful, but learn to work, for you cannot eat your beauty. ~Congolese Proverb
The one who loves an unsightly person is the one who makes him beautiful. ~Ganda Proverb
Having beauty doesn’t mean understanding the perseverance of marriage. ~African Proverb
You are beautiful because of your possessions. ~Baguirmi Proverb
Every woman is beautiful until she speaks. ~Zimbabwean Proverb
Three things cause sorrow to flee; water, green trees, and a beautiful face. ~Moroccan Proverb
A beautiful thing is never perfect. ~Egyptian Proverb
Patience is the mother of a beautiful child. ~Bantu Proverb
There is no beauty but the beauty of action. ~Moroccan Proverb
Judge not your beauty by the number of people who look at you, but rather by the number of people who smile at you. ~African Proverb
A pretty face and fine clothes do not make character. ~Congolese Proverb
Youth is beauty, even in cattle. ~Egyptian Proverb
A pretty basket does not prevent worries. ~Congolese Proverb
It’s those ugly caterpillars that turn into beautiful butterflies after seasons. ~African Proverb
The most beautiful fig may contain a worm. ~Zulu Proverb
It is only a stupid cow that rejoices at the prospect of being taken to a beautiful abattoir. ~African Proverb
A woman who pursues a man for sex loses her spiritual beauty. ~African Proverb
A chicken with beautiful plumage does not sit in a corner. ~African Proverb
The cook does not have to be a beautiful woman. ~Shona Proverb
Beautiful words don’t put porridge in the pot. ~Botswana Proverb
She is beautiful; she has love, understands; she respects herself and others; everyone likes, loves and honors her; she is a goddess. ~African Proverb
There is always a winner even in a monkey’s beauty contest. ~African Proverb
Dress up a stick and it’ll be a beautiful bride. ~Egyptian Proverb
An ugly child of your own is more to you than a beautiful one belonging to your neighbor. ~Ganda Proverb
Even the colors of a chameleon are for survival not beauty. ~African Proverb
Beautiful discourse is rarer than emerald ~ yet it can be found among the servant girls at the grindstones. ~Egyptian Proverb
When a once-beautiful piece of cloth has turned into rags, no one remembers that it was woven by Ukwa master weavers. ~Igbo Proverb
A woman’s polite devotion is her greatest beauty. ~African Proverb
There are many colorful flowers on the path of life, but the prettiest have the sharpest thorns. ~African Proverb
He who marries a beauty marries trouble. ~Nigerian Proverb
Despite the beauty of the moon, sun and the stars, the sky also has a threatening thunder and striking lightening. ~African Proverb
Getting only a beautiful woman is like planting a vine on the roadside everyone feeds on it. ~African Proverb
Greatness and beauty do not belong to the gods alone. ~Nigerian Proverb
Roosters’ tail feathers: pretty but always behind. ~Malagasy Proverb
Beauty is not sold and eaten. ~Nigerian Proverb
She is like a road – pretty, but crooked. ~Cameroonian Proverb
Why they like an ugly person takes long for a beautiful person to know. ~African Proverb
If you find “Miss This Year” beautiful, then you’ll find “Miss Next Year” even more so. ~Nigerian Proverb
The beauty of a woman becomes useless if there is no one to admire it. ~African Proverb

The Ultimate List of African Wise Proverbs and Inspiring Quotes

African Love and Marriage Quotes

He who loves the vase loves also what is inside. ~ African proverb
It’s much easier to fall in love than to stay in love. ~ African proverb
Coffee and love taste best when hot. ~ Ethiopian proverb
Where there is love there is no darkness. ~Burundian proverb
If you are ugly you must either learn to dance or make love. ~ Zimbabwean Proverp
Pretend you are dead and you will see who really loves you. ~ African proverb
To love the king is not bad, but a king who loves you is better. ~ Wolof proverb
A happy man marries the girl he loves, but a happier man loves the girl he marries. ~ African proverb
If you marry a monkey for his wealth, the money goes and the monkey remains as is. ~ Egyptian proverb
Love never gets lost it’s only kept. ~ African proverb
Never marry a woman who has bigger feet than you. ~ Mozambique proverb
One thread for the needle, one love for the heart. ~ Sudanese proverb
Love has to be shown by deeds not words. ~ Swahili proverb
Love is a despot who spares no one. ~Namibian proverb
Marriage is like a groundnut; you have to crack it to see what is inside. ~ Ghanaian proverb

The Ultimate List of African Wise Proverbs and Inspiring Quotes

African Quotes on Patience

Patience is the key which solves all problems. ~ Sudanese proverb
Hurry, hurry has no blessings. ~ Swahili proverb
Patience is the mother of a beautiful child. ~ Bantu proverb
To run is not necessarily to arrive. ~ Swahili proverb
Patience can cook a stone. ~ African proverb
A patient man will eat ripe fruit. ~ African proverb
At the bottom of patience one finds heaven. ~ African proverb
A patient person never misses a thing. ~ Swahili proverb
Patience puts a crown on the head. ~ Ugandan proverb
Patience attracts happiness; it brings near that which is far. ~ Swahili proverb
Always being in a hurry does not prevent death, neither does going slowly prevent living. ~ Ibo proverb
However long the night, the dawn will break. ~ African proverb (personal favourite!)

The Ultimate List of African Wise Proverbs and Inspiring Quotes

African Quotes on Food

As porridge benefits those who heat and eat it, so does a child benefit those that rear it. ~Amharic Proverb
The forest not only hides man’s enemies but its full of man’s medicine, healing power and food. ~African Proverb
One person is a thin porridge; two or three people are a lump of ugali. ~Kuria Proverb
The man who counts the bits of food he swallows is never satisfied. ~African Proverb
Wine, women and food give gladness to the heart. ~Ancient Egyptian Proverb
The food that is in the mouth is not yet in the belly. ~Kikuyu Proverb
You cannot work for food when there is no food for work. ~African Proverb
The chicken that digs for food will not sleep hungry. ~Bayombe Proverb
He who eats another mans food will have his own food eaten by others. ~Swahili Proverb
Food gained by fraud tastes sweet to a man, but he ends up with gravel in his mouth. ~African Proverb
No partridge scratches the ground in search of food for another. ~Xhosa Proverb
The grasshopper which is always near its mother eats the best food. ~Ghanaian Proverb
Don’t take another mouthful before you have swallowed what is in your mouth. ~Malagasy Proverb
Rich people sometimes eat bad food. ~Kikuyu Proverb
The impotent man does not eat spicy foods. ~Congolese Proverb
You should know what’s being cooked in the kitchen otherwise you might eat a forbidden food. ~African Proverb
When the leg does not walk, the stomach does not eat. ~Mongo (Congolese) Proverb
A healthy person who begs for food is an insult to a generous farmer. ~Ghanaian Proverb
One spoon of soup in need has more value than a pot of soup when we have an abundance of food. ~Angolan Proverb
Cooked food is not sold for goats. ~Kikuyu Proverb
The mouth is stupid after eating it forgets who gave it the food. ~African Proverb
A dog knows the places he is thrown food. ~Acholi Proverb
One who eats alone cannot discuss the taste of the food with others. ~African Proverb
Words are sweet, but they never take the place of food. ~Ibo Proverb
The man who has bread to eat does not appreciate the severity of a famine. ~Yoruba Proverb
He who doesn’t clean his mouth before breakfast always complains that the food is sour. ~African Proverb
The hyena with a cub does not consume all the available food. ~Akamba Proverb
When the food is cooked there is no need to wait before eating it. ~Kikuyu Proverb
What one won’t eat by itself, one will eat when mixed with other food. ~Bantu & Lamba Proverb
Man is like a pepper, till you have chewed it you do not know how hot it is. ~Haussa Proverb
No one gets a mouthful of food by picking between another person’s teeth. ~Igbo Proverb
It is not the cook’s fault when the cassava turns out to be hard and tasteless. ~Ewe Proverb
A housewife who complains that there is not enough foodstuff in the market should remember that if her husband adds to what is already available, there would be more for everyone. ~Nigerian Proverb
A spider’s cobweb isn’t only its sleeping spring but also its food trap. ~African Proverb
If you watch your pot, your food will not burn. ~Mauritanian, Nigerian, and Niger Proverb
Those who are at one regarding food are at one in life. ~Malawian Proverb
Fine words do not produce food. ~Nigerian Proverb
Even the best cooking pot will not produce food. ~African Proverb
If I could see your face, I would not need food. ~Amharic Proverb
If you find no fish, you have to eat bread. ~Ghanaian Proverb
War is not porridge. ~Gikuyu Proverb
The best of mankind is a farmer; the best food is fruit. ~Ethiopian Proverb
Slowly, slowly, porridge goes into the gourd. ~Kuria People of Kenyan & Tanzania
One shares food not words. ~Somali Proverb
If you are looking for a fly in your food it means that you are full. ~South African Proverb
Nature gave us two cheeks instead of one to make it easier to eat hot food. ~Ghanaian Proverb
A patient that can swallow food makes the nurse doubtful. ~Malagasy Proverb
If you give bad food to your stomach, it drums for you to dance. ~African Proverb
A bad cook also has his/her share of the bad food. ~African Proverb
The forest provides food to the hunter after he is utterly exhausted. ~Zimbabwean Proverb
Things are to be tried, an old lady cooked stones and they produced soup. ~Zimbabwean Proverb
You cannot tell a hungry child that you gave him food yesterday. ~Zimbabwean Proverb
Good music goes with good food. ~African Proverb
Rich people cook their food in a potsherd. ~Kikuyu Proverb
However little food we have, we’ll share it even if it’s only one locust. ~Malagasy Proverb
Water is colourless and tasteless but you can live on it longer than eating food. ~African Proverb
Eat when the food is ready; speak when the time is right. ~Ethiopian Proverb
The food eaten first lasts longest in the stomach. ~Kikuyu Proverb
When your luck deserts you, even cold food burns. ~Zambian Proverb
Happiness is as good as food. ~Maasai Proverb
Good words are food, bad words poison. ~Malagasy Proverb
The goat says: “Where there is blood, there is plenty of food.” ~Ghanaian Proverb
If you see a man in a gown eating with a man in rags, the food belongs to the latter. ~Fulani Proverb
They ate our food, and forgot our names. ~Tunisian Proverb
An abundance of food at your neighbour’s will not satisfy your hunger. ~Bayaka Proverb
Food you will not eat you do not boil. ~African Proverb

Uzonna Anele
Uzonna Anele
Anele is a web developer and a Pan-Africanist who believes bad leadership is the only thing keeping Africa from taking its rightful place in the modern world.


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