60 Best Zambian Proverbs To Check Out

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Zambian Proverbs


Proverbs reveals many things about the wisdom and culture of any Country, in Zambia for instance, Zambian proverbs are the grassroots of our connection between the struggle of the past and the reality of the present.

Zambian proverbs are not just wise saying, they are the spirit guide that inspire our success story, the very bond that is keep us safe, happy and successful.

Top 60 Zambian Proverbs

1. Those who laugh at other’s mistakes often make the same mistakes themselves.

2. The first may not necessarily arrive first.

3. One who enters the forest does not listen to the breaking of twigs in the brush.

4. Today’s Bush is Tomorrows Forest.

5. Your feet will take you away from home, but your stomach will always bring you back

6. He who keeps on trying, get’s the reward

7. The shark who has eaten cannot swim with the shark that is hungry

8. You learn a lot about a man by his behavior when hungry

9. He who falls does not rise on his own

10. Where there is a finger there is a cultivated field

11. One hand cannot pick Lice from the head

12. Jump over a log but not over your neighbor’s word

13. A fat woman warms the night better than a strong fire

14. If you have no teeth, do not break the clay cooking pot

15. A madman drops a stone in a well, but forty wise men cannot take it out

16. The mouth puts the head in trouble

17. Lies have short legs

18. Things that are stolen will really never make you rich

19. Kneeling you eat with elders, keep standing you have nothing

20. To get rid of anger, first weed out the bitter root

21. Speak to the dog, but take the stick into your hand.

22.You have to look after wealth, but knowledge looks after you

23. If you are ugly, learn how to dance

24.Treat the days well and they will treat you well

25. A little arm follows another

 Nsenga proverbs Of Zambia

The following are some examples of Nsenga proverbs:

1 . “KASELO NKHOYA KASELO WELA”
The meaning of this proverb is “When a small plate with food is given out, it should come back with food”. It emphasizes the point that traditionally when you are given something in a plate, you must not return the plate empty. This proverb aims to teach the importance of reciprocating generosity. When someone gives you something or renders a kind gesture to you, you need to also do the same for them. This encourages people to keep being generous to one another.

2. “INDA YUYENDAYENDA IKUMANA NA NZYALA”
The meaning of this proverb is “The louse that moves aimlessly met the fingernail which killed it”. The message in this proverb is that aimless behavior can lead someone in serious problems. The proverb teaches people to avoid moving all over the place doing bad habits because such behavior has consequences.

3. “NG’OMBE NI MATOLE”
The meaning of this proverb is “Calves are future cattle”. The message in this proverb is that the young ones of today are the future of the community or the nation. The proverb encourages society to bring up children in the right way because the future of the society depends of the young children who are growing.

4. “CIMUTI CISAWELAMA CIKUTHYOKA NA MPHEPO.”
The meaning of this proverb is “The wind breaks a tree that does not bend”. The aim of this proverb is to teach people that you need to be flexible in some situations. In life, one must avoid being too rigid and should learn to be able to adjust according to the different situations in order to survive.

5. “AWEME AKUNKHALISHA LINI”
The meaning of this proverb is “Good people do not live long”. This proverb teaches people to exercise caution when rendering help because sometimes kind gestures attract jealousy. When people get too jealous of you, they may try to do you harm and end up killing you.

6. “ASAKONSHA ECILYA PULA”
The meaning of this proverb is “The one who didn’t ask ended up eating bee wax”. The lesson in this proverb is that it is important to seek advice and guidance so that you don’t make mistakes.

7. “KOSWE WA PAMUTENJE ESOKOLOLA WA PASANGA”

The meaning of this proverb is “A roof mouse revealed the bush one”. This proverb uses mice to symbolize the behavior of thieves. When one thief is caught, he may reveal where the other thieves are. The point of this proverb is that one offense can help solve other unsolved cases.

8. “CIPILI MUKAMUYAMBA OLUMA”
The meaning of this proverb is “A puff adder will bite you once you provoke it”. The message in this proverb is that people should not be provoked just because they seem reserved. This proverb reminds people who go round provoking others that one day the person who you are provoking will respond in a strong way.

9. “DYELA YUPAISHA”
The meaning of this proverb is that “Over-enjoying the pleasures of life can lead to death”. The aim of this proverb is to teach people to moderate how they indulge in pleasure and enjoyment. It reminds people who love illicit activities such as drinking and partying to have some limits.

10. “FWEZA IMO OIPIKILAPO LINI”
The meaning of this proverb is “You cannot cook on a fireplace made of one pillar.” This proverb teaches the importance of working together because there is strength in unity. For something great to be accomplished it takes making people to put their hand together and support each other.

11. “KUPAYA NJOKA NI KUITENDA MUTU”.
The meaning of this proverb is “You kill a snake by cutting its head”. The message in this proverb is that when you are faced with a problem you need to deal with the source of the problem.

12. “MANZI SOLUWA MWAKUPITA”
The meaning of this proverb is that “Water does not forget its course”. This proverb shows that old habits are very hard to let go of. When you have been doing something for very long, even if you stop, there is a high likelihood that you will start doing it again.

13. “KUKUMBWA NKHANZINGO NI KUNKHALA NA MENU”
The meaning of this proverb is “To admire fried maize grains, one should have teeth”. The proverb aims to teach people that before one embarks on a project they need to have a full understanding of the implications of what they are doing and they should be prepared for it.

14. “AKULU-AKULU NI MUCILAMBO MOTEWA NKHUNI”
The meaning of this proverb is “Elderly people are the bush were you get firewood.” In this proverb firewood symbolizes wisdom. The message in this proverb is that when society needs guidance and wisdom, they need to consult the elderly people.

15. “ALIYE MATU OTAMANA”
The meaning of this proverb is “A person without ears suffers”. The message in this proverb is that people needs to adhere to advice given to them if they want to avoid problems. In life, a lot of people often land themselves in trouble because they don’t listen to advice.

16. “KUNYATANA KWAWENE OSAVULILA JEKETE”
This proverb means “Do not remove your jacket to take part in a fight that doesn’t concern you”. This proverb teaches people to avoid getting involved in other people’s conflicts.

17. “ALWENDO NI MAME OSANSULIKA”
The meaning of this proverb is “Visitors are like dew that dries up”. This proverb teaches the importance of hospitality. It encourages people to treat visitors well because usually visitors don’t stay for a long time when they visit.

18. “ANIONE ANIONE ENKHALA PAMULILO”
The meaning of this proverb is “The one who tried to show off ended up seating on fire”. The aim of this proverb is to discourage boastful behavior especially in public. The proverb teaches that being humble in life will help you avoid trouble.

19. “ANYOKO NANYOKO MPHELA”
The meaning of this proverb is “Your mother is your mother no matter what”. The message in this proverb is that a person’s mother cannot be changed. The woman who gave birth to you will remain your mother regardless of any circumstances. This proverb teaches people to respect their parents at all times.

20. “CALO CUWAMA NA WAKO”
The meaning of this proverb is “The world is good when you have people who love you”. The message in this proverb is that in life it is important to have people that matter to you. The message encourages people to treat their loved ones well because loved ones are the ones who make one enjoy life.

21. “CALO NI KAKUNGULU CUSANKHA LINI”
The meaning of this proverb is “The world is like a whirlwind because it does not choose whom to attack”. The message in this proverb is that problems can be befall anyone. It reminds people that by virtue of living in this world they should expect to encounter some problems at some point in their lives.

22. “AKOMBWE AKAPAKA, KUKUCA LINI MWAMSANGA”
The meaning of this proverb is “When there are many roosters, it takes long to dawn”. The message in this proverb is that when there are too many people involved in one activity then there is likely to be confusion. Too many hands trying to do one task may lead to the task not being done properly.

23. “CALOWA PASANGA OCIKONKHA LINI”
The meaning of this proverb is “What has entered the bush should not be followed”. The aim of this proverb is to teach people that they should not follow the unknown. When you don’t fully understand something you need to avoid pursuing it because it may lead you in problems.

24. “CENJELA NAO MALUMBO APAMENSO”
The meaning of this proverb is “Be careful of praises you receive.” This proverb reminds people to be cautious when some people are praising them too much because the same people who are praising you could be plotting evil against you.

25. “ACIKULILE ANGAKOLWE LINI NA OWA.”
The meaning of this proverb is “Elderly people cannot be intoxicated by mushroom”. The message behind this proverb is that elderly people have the wisdom to be able to discern what is good and what is bad. The intoxicating mushroom symbolizes bad behavior and so elders know how to identify and avoid bad behavior. This proverb encourages young ones to listen to the wisdom provided by elders.

26. “CIKUMBE SOLALA NJALA”
The meaning of this proverb is “A good farmer never sleeps on an empty stomach”. The aim of this proverb is to emphasize the importance of hard work. The proverb teaches people that hard work brings rewards.

27. “CIFUPA COYUMILIZYA CUPHWANYA CINKHOMBE”
The meaning of this proverb is “A forced bone breaks the clay pot”. This proverb expresses the idea that forced things do not work.

28. “CIMETA NKHANGA MPALA CIKUZIWIKA LINI”
The meaning of this proverb is “What made the guinea fowl bald headed is not known”. The aim of this proverb is to teach people not to be judgmental when they see someone facing problems because you may not know what the cause of the problem is. The proverb reminds a person to never ridicule someone who is in crisis.

29 . “AKOLWE OSEKANA VINKHANG’A”
The meaning of this proverb is “Monkeys laugh at each other’s shiny red marks on their buttocks”. This proverb teaches people that you must look at your own issues before you ridicule other people’s issues. Everyone has their own issues and usually the person who makes fun of another person’s issues may also be facing the same issues.

30. “CUMA CA MUMUNZI OCISUNGA NA OZIWIKA”
The meaning of this proverb is “The wealth of the community is kept with those who are known”. This proverb teaches members of a community that there is need to avoid giving your money to be kept by someone who you don’t know because they may run away with it. If you want someone to keep your money for you, you need to give someone you know and trust.

31. “CIKUTALIMFYA NJILA NI MAYENDEDWE”
The meaning of this proverb is “What makes the road long is the mode of transport”. The lesson in this proverb is that in many cases the things which delay your success in life are the choices which you make. This proverb teaches people to reflect on the poor choices they have made in their life if they want to understand why they are not progressing in life.

32. “AKANKHALA PANKHALO IWEME AKUTI AFUMEPO LINI”
The meaning of this proverb is “When someone is wealthy, they think they will never be poor”. This proverb teaches people that in life anybody can easily slip from a comfortable position. The proverb teaches people who always think they will be on top forever that things can happen unexpectedly and they can drop.

33. “CUWAWA NI MWINE OKUMVWA”
The meaning of this proverb is “The pain is felt by the victim”. This proverb expresses the fact that you cannot understand the pain that someone is going though because you are not the one who is directly affected it. It teaches people to be more considerate when they see someone going through a bad experience.

34. “KANYONI KONKHALA PA MSAMBO WAKAKONDA”
The meaning of this proverb is “A bird sits on the branch that it likes.” This proverb expresses the importance of respecting the choices that someone makes. For example in a case where someone has chosen who they want to marry, all the other people need to respect that because individual choices depend on what the individual likes.

35. “AKAZI WAMFUMU KUMEKA NGA AMFUMU NIWEVE”
The meaning of this proverb is “The chief’s wife boasts as though she is the chief herself”. The aim of this proverb is to teach people not to boast about what they are not. It emphasizes the importance of knowing one’s limits.

36. “AKOLWE OZIWANA OPASANA VIZIMBILI”
The meaning of this proverb is “Monkeys that know each other share fruits”. This proverb teaches that people that know each other share things which each other.

The above mentioned proverbs are just a small selection of the proverbs that the Nsenga people use to impart life lessons to the next generation. If you know any other Nsenga proverbs, feel free to write them in the comments section and give an explanation of what they mean and how they are used. It’s important to keep sharing knowledge and learning from one another.

 Read Next:  150 plus African proverbs


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