Swahili Proverbs

Sayings of Swahili origin

If the hours are long enough and the pay is short enough, someone will say it’s women’s work.

Don’t plant a seed in the sea.

A single finger does not break a louse.

When the cat has gone away, the mice prevail.

Many cooks spoil the sauce.

There are three things which if one does not know, one cannot live long in the world: what is too much for one, what is too little for one, and what is just right for one.

Education has no ending.

How come that the pepper which you are not eating is too hot for you?

Haste does not result in prosperity.

Nine is near ten.

Little by little fills up the measure.

If you want to eat a pig, eat a fat one.

The route of a liar is short.

Aiming isn’t hitting.

Blood is heavier than water.

Abuses are the result of seeing one another too often.

He who sows haphazardly, eats haphazardly.

A letter from the heart can be read on the face.

Where there is a will, there is a way.

To a physician a sick man is a garden.

Bribery is the enemy of justice.

Don’t insult midwives as long as you are still able to give birth.

The child of a snake is a snake.

Where smoke is being generated, there is a fire.

Patience attracts success.

If you destroy a bridge, be sure you can swim.

Wait at the bottom, for the one who is up.

A remote stick does not kill a snake.

He who isn’t around, his share isn’t around either .

A person is people.

Don’t provoke bees.

If a child cries for a razor-blade, give it to him.

Habit is a skin.

A drowning person does not stop thrashing around.

Give way to the strong one.

Anger brings damage.

Unity is strength, disunity is weakness.

Death is blind.

If water has been spilt, it cannot be scooped up.

A fly does not mind dying in coconut cream.

A distant fire does not burn.

Haste has no blessing.

Delay so that you may arrive.

A spear is only against a pig; against a human being it is painful.

If the hyena eats the sick man, he will eat the whole one.

The remedy for fire is fire.

Donating is only a matter of willingness and not wealth.

If you don’t seal a crack, you will build wall.

Intelligence is an asset.

Two crocodiles cannot agree.

Swahili Proverbs

The Swahili people are an ethnic and cultural group inhabiting the African Great Lakes region. Members mainly reside on the Swahili Coast, in an area encompassing the Zanzibar archipelago, coastal Kenya, the Tanzania seaboard, and northern Mozambique. The name Swahili is derived from the Arabic word Sawahil, meaning “coasts”. The Swahili speak the Swahili language, which belongs to the Bantu branch of the Niger-Congo family.

The Swahili people originate from Bantu inhabitants of the coast of Southeast Africa, in Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique. They are mainly united under the mother tongue of Kiswahili, a Bantu language. The Swahili follow a very strict and orthodox form of Islam.  (An excerpt from Wikipedia)

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