South African Proverbs

By|March 25, 2018

Sayings of South African origin

  • Two eyes help each other
  • In a herd of cattle, it doesn’t matter which is ahead.
  • No hill without gravestones, no valley without shadows.
  • You might stint me, but be generous to my child.
  • No death is different.
  • When you have a lot to do, start with a meal.
  • A river is filled by tributaries.
  • Where there is honey, there are bound to be ants.
  • Two wives, two pots of poison.
  • When you become wise of the healer, also become wise of the sickness.
  • A traveler is provided for.
  • The dupe who takes possession of a lame ox is seldom recognized as a fool.
  • The heart is like a goat that has to be tied up.
  • The greatest death is laughter.
  • When the elephant is slain all the tribes gather together to eat of it.
  • When a bird builds its nest it uses the feathers of other birds.
  • As great birds die the eggs rot.
  • Cattle will not attack its owner.
  • A strawberry doesn’t ripen according to the wishes of a baboon.
  • It shall dawn again tomorrow.
  • Let the hand go, let the hand come back.
  • The hand that rocks the cradle rules the nation and its destiny.
  • A termite grows up in dry wood, and yet comes to maturity.
  • The mouth can cross any river.
  • Old age does not announce itself.
  • You are not great just because you say you are.
  • Until the lions have their historians, tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter.
  • Dawn doesn’t come twice to wake a person up.
  • The drums of war are the drums of hunger.
  • A grave must not be dug until a person is dead.
  • When two elephants meet on a narrow bridge, they get nowhere until one of them backs down or lies down.
  • The seed waits for its garden or ground where it will be sown.
  • The girl with stars in her eyes will shine like the moonlight.
  • People are not equal unlike teeth.
  • Almost is not eaten.
  • What the poor man says is not listened to.
  • Before you milk a cow tie it up.
  • The last to be rich, ascends the mountain.
  • He who has no intelligence is happy with it.
  • Hope does not kill; I shall live in hope of getting what I seek another day.
  • Even the maid has a family.
  • The foot pains in sympathy with the toe.
  • The impatient person eats goat; the one who hesitates eats beef.
  • The one who makes law doesn’t know the law.
  • Getting married is like putting a snake in your pocket.
  • The one behind is the one ahead.
  • The healer does not diagnose himself.
  • Greatness is not rushed for.
  • Growing is seeing.
  • The owl eats its eye, the one with misty eyes dies of hunger.
  • When you find a song being sung, sing it too.
  • Walls have ears and little pots too.
  • The foot is a witch.
  • Each seed waits for its time to be sowed.
  • A man takes from another man’s back.
  • People are people through other people.
  • The baboon does not see its forehead.
  • The fool who owns an ox is seldom recognized as a fool.
  • No stake ever grew old with the bark on.
  • When you climb the mountain and reach the top, do not forget the branches shrubs that helped your footing.
  • The foot has no nose.
  • The last partridge to rise gets the most sticks thrown at it.
  • Habit defeats the mind.
  • The river is filled by the streams
  • One who perseveres has no misfortune.
  • A cow is milked by the one who knows it.
  • No one drinks medicine on behalf of a sick person.
  • Children are like plant offshoots that ever go forward.
  • It is hunger that killed the man with many wives.
  • The one chased away with a club comes back, but the one chased away with reason does not.
  • When you shoot a zebra in the black stripe, the white dies too; shoot it in the white and the black dies too.
  • Once you have found your first diamond, you will never give up looking.
  • A fool is a wise man’s ladder.
  • Learning never ends, its the days that end.
  • By pounding the dough the bread will rise.
  • If you are looking for a fly in your food it means that you are full.
  • Roasted locusts eaten at night bring dangerous dreams.
  • When you have touched a woman, you have struck a rock.
  • Strength of a man has no ending
  • I heard is not the same as I saw.
  • Those who do not have pots, often get a good harvest of pumpkins.
  • Hope never kills, but rushing things does
  • Orphans mourn for each other.
  • The one who ate first is the same as the one who ate last
  • The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the next best time is now.
  • Don’t dirty the well after drinking water.
  • If he keeps on imitating everybody the monkey will one day cut his own throat.
  • If your buttocks burn, you know you have done wrong.
  • The pool has dried up, and the fish is in trouble.
  • Plenty sits still, hunger is a wanderer.
  • To grow is to see things.
  • It’s hot when it’s poured, but tomorrow it will have cooled down.
  • The poor man’s proverb is never quoted.
  • The farting of the head of the homestead is ignored by the commoner.
  • One who enters a hut does not smell the termites roasting in the boiler.
  • The wrong-headed fool who refuses counsel, will come to grief.
  • No man can perfectly empty a pot with a ladle.
  • Abundance does not spread; famine does.

South African political map with flh

The Republic of South Africa (RSA)

South Africa is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded on the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; on the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and on the east and northeast by Mozambique and Swaziland; and surrounds the kingdom of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with close to 56 million people, is the world’s 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa’s largest communities of European (white), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (coloured) ancestry. (Source)

South Africa has 11 official languages: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu.

Pretoria is a city in the northern part of Gauteng, South Africa. It is one of the country’s three capital cities, serving as the seat of the executive branch of government (Cape Town is the legislative capital and Bloemfontein the judicial capital).

The current national anthem of South Africa was adopted in 1997 and is a hybrid song combining new English lyrics with extracts of the hymn “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika” (English: “God Bless Africa”) and the Afrikaans song “Die Stem van Suid-Afrika” (English: “The Call of South Africa”). Lyrics:

Lord bless Africa
May her glory be lifted high,

Hear our prayers
Lord bless us, your children.

Lord we ask you to protect our nation,
Intervene and end all conflicts,
Protect us, protect our nation,
the nation of South Africa, South Africa.

Ringing out from our blue heavens,
From our deep seas breaking round,
Over everlasting mountains,
Where the echoing crags resound

Sounds the call to come together,
And united we shall stand,
Let us live and strive for freedom
In South Africa our land!

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