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"A wise man never

know all, only fools

know everything."

African Parables & Proverbs

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African Proverbs


  • A chick that will grow into a cock can be spotted the very day it hatches.

  • A child's fingers are not scalded by a piece of hot yam which his mother puts into his palm.

  • An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb.

  • A man who pays respect to the great paves the way for his own greatness.

  • A proud heart can survive a general failure because such a failure does not prick its pride.

  • As the dog said, "If I fall down for you and you fall down for me, it is playing."

  • A wise man who knows proverbs, reconciles difficulties. (Yoruba)

  • Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped.

  • If a child washes his hands he could eat with kings.

  • If you don't stand for something, you will fall for something.

  • It takes a whole village to raise a child

  • Looking at a king's mouth one would never think he sucked his mother's breast.

  • People should not talk while they are eating or pepper may go down the wrong way.

  • The lizard that jumped from the high iroko tree to the ground said he would praise himself if no one else did.

  • The mouth which eats does not talk.

  • The sun will shine on those who stand before it shines on those who kneel under them.

  • Those whose palm-kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble.

  • When a man says yes, his chi (personal god) says yes also.

  • When the moon is shining the cripple becomes hungry for a walk.

  • You can tell a ripe corn by its look.

  • You must judge a man by the work of his hands.



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