Senegalese Proverbs

Sayings of Senegalese origin

It is the specialist who knows the in’s and out’s.

The strong don’t need clubs.

When a mouse makes fun of a cat, there is a hole.

The truth is like gold; keep it locked up and you will find it exactly as you first put it away.

The chameleon changes color to match the earth, the earth doesn’t change color to match the chameleon.

A rotten fish pollutes the whole kitchen.

It is when the elephant dies, we get to see his teeth.

The opportunity that God sends does not wake up him who is asleep.

A lobster loves water, but not when he’s being cooked in it.

Even Buddhist priests of the same temple quarrel occasionally.

Poverty is an older daughter of laziness.

If a centipede loses a leg, it does not prevent him from walking.

If you speak, speak to him who understands you.

It is better to be loved than feared.

A hat is never too big for a farmer.

Three kinds of people die poor: those who divorce, those who incur debts, and those who move around too much.

Kings have no friends.

Don’t try to make someone hate the person he loves, for he will still go on loving, but he will hate you.

Support yourself and heaven will help you.

The one who has a spoon does not burn his hands.

The Republic of Senegal

Map of Senegal with Senegalese flagSenegal, is a country in West Africa. The name “Senegal” comes from the Wolof “Sunuu Gaal,” which means “Our Boat.” Senegal covers a land area of almost 197,000 square kilometres (76,000 sq mi) and has an estimated population of about 13 million.

French is the official language, used regularly by a minority of Senegalese educated in a system styled upon the colonial-era schools of French origin. Most people also speak their own ethnic language.

Dakar is the capital and largest city of Senegal.

More Senegalese Proverbs & Sayings

My goat is on the other side of the river. It cannot meet my craving for goat.

The jungle is stronger than the elephant.

If your son laughs when you scold him, you ought to cry, for you have lost him; if he cries, you may laugh, for you have a worthy heir.

The wolf dies where the pack is.

It is better to walk fast than to grow angry at the forest.

What a cow eats a calf drinks.

Ambition begets troubles.

The frog likes water, but not boiling water.

All birds will flock to a fruitful tree.

A tree that grows in the shade of another one will die small.

Health is a treasure

Nobody tells all he knows.

People are man’s medicine.

The heart is not a knee that can be bent.

Eat coconuts while you have teeth.

If a little tree grows in the shade of a larger tree, it will die small.

The cow steps on the calf, but she does not hate it.

What you give to others bears fruit for yourself.

Haste and hurry can only bear children with many regrets along the way.

What’s the use of consulting a dead man’s horoscope?

If the dog is not at home, he barks not.

A healthy ear can stand hearing sick words.

It is better to travel alone than with a bad companion.

He may say that he loves you. Wait and see what he does for you!

An intelligent enemy is better than a stupid friend.

Lies that build are better than truths that destroy.

It is better to cry alone than ask for people to cry for you.

To spend the night in anger is better than to spend it in repentance.

Spilled water is better than a broken jar.

The night is the king of the shadows.

Trusting in wealth is like looking for feathers on turtles.

Even the fall of a dancer is a somersault.

If you had teeth of steel, you could eat iron coconuts.

When you know who his friend is, you know who he is.

“Pincez tous vos koras, frappez les balafons” known also as “Le Lion rouge” is the national anthem of Senegal.

Senegalese National Anthem ( English Lyrics):

Everyone strum your koras, strike the balafons.
The red lion has roared.
The tamer of the savannah
Has leapt forward,
Dispelling the darkness.
Sunlight on our terrors, sunlight on our hope.
Stand up, brothers, here is Africa assembled.

Fibres of my green heart,
Shoulder to shoulder, my more-than-brothers,
O Senegalese, arise!
Join sea and springs, join steppe and forest!
Hail mother Africa, hail mother Africa.
Senegal, you the son of the lion’s froth,
Sprung from the night to the gallop of horses,
Give us, oh! give us the honour of our ancestors,
Splendid as ebony and strong as muscle,
We say it clearly – the sword has no flaw.

Senegal, we take on your great work:
To shelter the chicks from the falcons,
To make, from east to west, north to south,
Arisen, one single people, a people without seams,
But a people turned to all the winds of the earth.

Senegal, like you, like all our heroes,
We will be hard without hatred, with two open arms.
The sword in peace-time we will store in the scabbard,
For work and words will be our weapon.
The Bantu is a brother, and so is the Arab and the White.

But if the enemy burns our borders
We will be risen with weapons in our hands:
One people defying all sorrows with its faith,
Young and old, men and women.
Death, yes! We say death, but not shame.

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