« Sumu ɲuɔnliɛn kɔlɔn ye n banu kaa a na kai. » (Bozo-Djenaama)
The stranger has big eyes but he does not see anything.

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« Jirikurun men o men ji la, a te ke bama ye. » (Bambara)
No matter how long a log stays in the water, it doesn’t become a crocodile.

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« Akpa le tome gake menya tsi fe vevie nyenyeo. » (Ewe)
A fish is in water but does not know the importance of water. (literal translation)
A fish is the last to acknowledge the existence of water. (figurative translation)

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« Kidole kimoja hakivunji chawa. » (Yoruba Swahili)

One finger cannot kill a louse.

***

These proverbs will be part of my first teaching session tomorrow. Can you guess what the topic will be?

2 thoughts on “African Proverbs

  1. The citation identified as a ‘Yoruba proverb’ is actually a relatively prosaic commentary in Swahili: “One person alone cannot accomplish much. Unity is strength and division is weakness.” Clearly we need other people, especially to understand our milieu and to generally to acculturate.

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