WISDOM FROM ANCIENT AFRICA ( PRE COLONIALISM)

Wisdom from the Yoruba Kingdom translated into English.

 

 

  1. A great affair covers up a small matter.
  2. A man with a cough cannot conceal himself.
  3. The first morsel never complains of insufficient sauce.
  4. A proverb is the horse that can carry one swiftly to the discovery of ideas.
  5. A stammerer would eventually say father. After we fry the fat, we see what is left.
  6. Anyone who sees beauty and does not look at it will soon be poor.
  7. As long as there are lice in the seams of the garment there must be bloodstains on the fingernails.
  8. As there is guilt in innocence, there is innocence in guilt.
  9. Ashes always fly back in the face of him who throws them.
  10. Because friendship is pleasant, we partake of our friend’s entertainment; not because we have not enough to eat in our own house.
  11. Covetousness is the father of unfulfilled desires.
  12. Fear a silent man. He has lips like a drum For no man could be blessed without the acceptance of his own head.
  13. Gossips always suspect that others are talking about them.
  14. He who eats well speaks well or it is a question of insanity.
  15. He who throws a stone in the market will hit his relative.
  16. ‘I nearly killed the bird.’ No one can eat ‘nearly’ in a stew.
  17. If something that was going to cut off your head only knocked off your cap, you should be grateful.
  18. If we stand tall it is because we stand on the backs of those who came before us.
  19. If you damage the character of another, you damage your own.
  20. If you don’t sell your head, no one will buy it.
  21. It is a thief that can trace the footsteps of another thief on a rock.
  22. It takes a whole village to raise a child.
  23. Many words do not fill a basket.
  24. Medicine left in the bottle can’t help.
  25. No one can uproot the tree which God has planted.
  26. Nobody knows the mysteries which lie at the bottom of the ocean.
  27. One takes care of one’s own: when a bachelor roasts yam, he share’s it with his sheep.
  28. One who waits for chance may wait a year.
  29. Only what you have combated for will last.
  30. Patching makes a garment last long.
  31. Silence is an attribute of the dead; he who is alive speaks.
  32. Stretch your hands as far as they reach, grab all you can grab.
  33. The bell rings loudest in your own home.
  34. The butterfly that brushes against thorns will tear its wings.
  35. The hand of the child cannot reach the shelf, nor the hand of the adult get through the neck of the gourd.
  36. The man who has bread to eat does not appreciate the severity of a famine.
  37. The person who forgives gains a victory in the dispute.
  38. The person who has been a slave from birth does not value rebellion.
  39. The pot-lid is always badly off: the pot gets all the sweet, the lid nothing but steam.
  40. The young cannot teach tradition to the old. The young cock crows as he hears the old one.
  41. Those who die through ignorance are many; those who die because they are intelligent are few.
  42. Truth came to market but could not be sold; however, we buy lies with ready cash.
  43. We must blame the thief first before we say that where the owner put her property improper.
  44. What you give you get, ten times over.
  45. When hunger gets inside you, nothing else can.
  46. When the door is closed, you must learn to slide across the crack of the sill.
  47. When the rain falls in the valley, the hill gets angry.
  48. When the white man is about to leave a garden for good, he wrecks it.
  49. When wood breaks it can be repaired, but ivory breaks forever.
  50. When you stand with the blessings of your mother and God, it matters not who stands against you.
  51. When your neighbor’s horse falls into a pit, you should not rejoice at it, for your own child may fall into it too.
  52. Where you will sit when you are old shows where you stood in youth.
  53. Words are like spears: Once they leave your lips they can never come back.
  54. Work is the medicine for poverty.
  55. You cannot shave a man’s head in his absence.
  56. You can’t stop a pig from wallowing in the mud.
  57. You must be willing to die in order to live.
  58. Work is the medicine for poverty. (YES THIS IS REPEATED TWICE BECAUSE OF HOW IMPORTANT IT IS)

 

 

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