African proverbs are often short, but require moments, days, months and even years of contemplation to fully comprehend the wisdom.
In the face of Aristotle and Socrates, we often forget that although our European counterparts have much to offer, African proverbs offer a practical wisdom. It also manages to always maintain a delicate balance between poetry, truth, ideas and life lessons.
Always remember that the beauty of proverbs lie in the universality of their meaning.
Everyone can relate to them in some way.
I’ve created a list of African proverbs for you, so that you may draw inspiration from them and incorporate their wisdom within your daily life:
Working alone has some advantages; To do things your way and not the way people tell you to.
Tasks appear to be done quicker, since there is no external pressure and you know what your goals are.
But when you want to go far, you need someone to centre you and support you.
You require someone who can tell you when you are on the wrong track, to lift you up when you fall and to encourage you when you are in a bad space.
And that is what bridges the gap between impossible and limitless.
I have not lived long in life but I have lived long enough to realize that there are some things in life that we can control and others which are beyond our control. And I have found that most of the things we worry about are things we really cannot control. How can you control what kind of dreams you will have when you sleep? If you are one of those who is always asking out of fear of the unknown, “what if this should happens”, “what if that should happen” , “what if this doesn’t happen”, “what if that doesn’t happen”, my response to you is, “You can’t stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair” (Anonymous). Similarly, if you are one of those always saying “if only I can have this I will be happy” or “if only I have that I will be happy”, my response to you is: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have” (anonymous). As they say in Latin, “Carpe diem” : make the most of the present moment! If you take care of today, tomorrow will take care of itself. Be steady. #TagAFriendToReadThis #EthiopianProverb THANK YOU FOR 100K LIKES!🙏🏿👍🏿👌🏿 TOGETHER WE ARE RE-BRANDING THE IMAGE OF AFRICA!
There are some things in life that we just can not control, but that does not mean we need to stop living.
3. WEST AFRICA
I want to ask you a simple question: how much faith does one need to move a mountain? If your answer is that one needs a mountain-size faith? You have thought like 98 percent of humans who never really achieve anything of worth. Yes, that’s the reasonable answer but it’s not the right answer. The right answer is that one needs a mustard seed size of faith to move any mountain. The mustard seed is about the smallest of all seeds, measuring only 1-2 mm in diameter. And since any of us is capable of mustering that amount of faith, it means we can all move mountains. I’m reminded of the great story of a poor India laborer called Dashrath Manjhi, whose wife became very sick and needed immediate medical attention. However in-between where they lived and the hospital stood a massive mountain in the way, spanning 110 meters. Unfortunately for him, being as poor as he was, he could not get his wife fast enough to the hospital because of the mountain. So the wife died. Wanting no to ever die for the same reason, he decided to dig through the mountain. Yes, for 22 years he singlehandedly carved a path through the mountain with only a chisel and a hammer. Indeed, “If you want to move mountains tomorrow you must start by lifting stones today”. The great need in our generation is not for tall faith but for tough faith. Don’t stop! Be moving! #TagAFriendToReadThis #WestAfricanProverb
Every obstacle that you ever came across in your life at first appeared to be a mountain- unconquerable. However, you persevered and you understood your strength along the way, when you initially doubted yourself.
Remember that an anthill seems like a mountain to an ant. In essence your solution is dependent on your perception of the problem.
4. SOUTH AFRICA
Never destroy the boat that ferried you, you might find another river to cross. Never bite the hand that once fed you. You may someday need that hand to hold you up. Never break the pot that once gave you water. You can use it for other useful purposes (like cooking). Never throw a stone into the market place where you shopped. Your relative might end up being the unintended victim. Never throw away the umbrella that sheltered you from the rain. It can provide shade for you against the scorching sun. And never throw mud into the well that gave you water. If you have no need for it anymore, it may be the time for others to drink from it. It is not only unwise to do these things, it is also unethical. Even if you will not express gratitude, at least don’t return the good with evil. If you have no sense of gratitude, just go your way quietly. You don’t have to be ungrateful to your benefactor. As they say in Malawi, “Do not be like the mosquito that bites the owner of the house” Be grateful! #TagAFriendToReadThis #SouthAfricanProverb
Never be ungrateful. Acknowledge those that have helped you and aid those who require your assistance. Don’t act with spite or be neglectful, there may come a day when you require the very resource you wasted.
One does not have to be an expert in plant pathology to know that “when the roots of a tree begin to decay, it spreads death to the branches”. And yes, there is plenty of scientific proof to support that. For instance in a pioneering research carried out by Walter C. Shortle Kenneth R. Dudzik they found out that “Dying (browning) or dead branches in the crown of a tree often indicate the loss of some functional roots below ground”. They went on to say that while small wounds or “frost cracks” that develop at the root of some trees may seem negligible “when such trees become larger, they are subject to breakage and create a hazard.” We can deduce from this that for instance, many of the decays (breakdown) in marriages can be traced to cracks (unresolved issues) that were not sealed during the relationship level, only for the cracks to develop into chasms. High crime rate in a country is traceable to broken homes. Some of us need to be told that our problem is not that we need a job that will give us more money but that we need to “treat” our unwise spending habit. Until we deal with foundational issues, all our efforts will be but ‘removing fruits’ instead of ‘uprooting the tree’. Remember as they say in Namibia, ” He who does not mend his clothes will soon have none”. Be deep-thinking. #TagAFriendToReadThis #NigerianProverb
When your foundation is not set properly, the rest will also collapse.
Be aware of neglect and deal with it immediately. A hairline crack may appear harmless, until the entire window shatters.
6. Unknown, however proverb is documented to have originated from Africa
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INSPIRATION: Educate yourself to be empowered otherwise you will always remain the follower, not the leader.
Also until the oppressed or hunted learns to articulate their story, the narrative of the oppressor or hunter will remain dominant.
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INSPIRATION: Use the knowledge you acquire and implement it to attain a higher and deeper understanding of all that is around you.
Knowledge is fluid, and wisdom is crystalised.