7 African Proverbs To Inspire You This Week

Proverbs are rich words of wisdom passed from generation to generation that help give guidance in our daily lives. They can be serious or sometimes funny but always pass a wise meaning that guides one.

African proverbs are mostly used by elders to communicate in the African communities. These words are usually and commonly referred to as wise words and are used to give advice or tell stories. These proverbs can be said during meetings among elders, meetings between elders and their children or youths.

African proverbs have been infused and used in our daily lives, one way or the other, either by using the English interpretation or the words itself. We can definitely agree that proverbs are a part of our lives, so here are 7 African proverbs to push you for the week;

A roaring lion kills no game

Lions do no stalk their prey noisily rather they move in silence so as to not scare their targets away. This proverb simply states it is advisable and the best to work quietly towards your goals. Its second meaning also translates to be, the easiest to achieving nothing is merely talking about it without taking action towards it; simply put, actions speak louder than words.


He who is bitten by a snake, fears a lizard

This is the African version of “once bitten, twice shy”, it explains how an unfortunate experience can make one wary of suffering the same experience in the future. It also advises one not only to be cautious of the animal, person, or situation that hurt them in the first place, but to treat similar things with the same respect. The proverb originates from Uganda, a country with several venomous snake species including the puff adder and the black mamba.



Not everyone who chased the zebra caught it, but he who caught it, chased it

This is the South African equivalent of “if you don’t try, you’ll never know”, or “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”. It interprets as, goals may not be achieved all the time, but the only way to ever reach them is to keep trying. It also advises against having a sense of rush in life as those who have succeeded may have failed multiple times and losing today doesn’t meant failure or the inability to win tomorrow.



No matter how hot your anger is, it cannot cook yams

All the way from Nigeria, this proverb reminds us that anger is not a constructive emotion. Being angry at a situation won’t change it; rather, keep a level head and think of a positive way to fix the problem.



The best way to eat the elephant standing in your path is to cut it up into little pieces

Are you facing difficult situations or huge tasks that seem unsolvable and just too much? this proverb advises that you should take it one step at a time. One task at a time until its finished. You cannot eat an elephant all at once, likewise you cannot finish off a task without breaking it down into units. Do not stress, all you have to do is break down that task.



Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors

Even when times are tough, lessons can be learnt. There is no professional without his or her novice days. You learn as you fight the tides and tough seasons in life. Every experience is needed for a better tomorrow.



Unless you call out, no one will open the door

If you don’t ask for assistance, you may never get one. People around you are there to help, if only you ask.

We hope these African proverbs in one way or the other help you in your daily lives this week. offer a wide range of African arts, sculpture, accents and antiques that give your home the perfect African touch. Don’t forget to shop from us and also share and comment.


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