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Best 5+ Swahili Proverbs That You Should Know!

April 21, 2022
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These Swahili proverbs and sayings give you a brief overview of what the culture in East Africa is like, but it is also a great way to connect with the native speakers and locals! If you plan to learn a new language like Swahili, this article is definitely the best way to get acquainted with the language! Keep reading below!

Swahili Proverbs And Sayings

Whether it is to create a conversation, build a stronger relationship with other people, or gain new knowledge and information, these guide to learn the most common words of wisdom and expressions in Swahili can be of great help. It opens people to a deeper understanding of multiple ways of thinking. Not only that, but it also introduces people to cultures and languages in such a powerful way.

These proverbs may also be used to drive away negativity, maintain peace, and become someone filled with wisdom and substance. If knowing about Swahili proverbs interests you for whatever reason, it may be, read on to learn more!

Swahili Proverbs

1. Akili ni mali

Literal translation: Knowledge is wealth

Meaning: There is nothing more valuable than being knowledgeable

This proverb is a good reminder that no matter what social status you may have or how rich you may be, all of that doesn't matter when you don't have the knowledge and wisdom to survive in this tough world. Such knowledge isn't just limited to the things that you learn from school, but it can also be through the things that you learn from other people and their experiences.

2. Mtu mmoja aliyejitolea ni bora kuliko wanaume kumi waliolazimishwa

Literal Translation: One volunteer is better than ten forced men

Meaning: Someone willing to help is much more admirable than those who do it against their will.

When one does something, it is crucial to do it from a place of willingness and genuineness rather than from a home of being forced. This is because when you do things against your will, it is most likely that the task you will be doing won't be successful, given that you are forced to do it.

3. Umoja ni nguvu

Literal translation: Unity is a strength

Meaning: When people are united, people are also strong

When people are united and do things together because they share the same goal and objective, such an act makes them strong. Hence, they also become successful in what they do and the goal they want to achieve. Aside from that, when there is unity, there is also success.

4. Ahadi ni deni

Literal translation: A promise is a debt

Meaning: Don't break your promise!

Same as with debt, when you promise somebody something, you should not break it, forget about it and commit to it. This proverb promotes that mindset, but it also encourages accountability and owning up to the things you say and promises you make.

5. Chema chajiuza, kibaya chajitembeza

Literal translation: A good thing sells, a bad thing advertises.

Meaning: When something is innately good, it will sell and get the recognition it deserves without you doing anything about it.

This proverb is a good reminder that when you do things because you are committed to making or having a good output out of it, it will get the recognition it deserves. Whereas when you do things and projects half-heartedly, it takes so much time and effort to get the attention it deserves because ingenuity can be felt and seen.

6. Kuuliza si ujinga

Literal translation: Asking is not stupidity

Meaning: It is always okay to ask questions.

When you simply want to learn something new or when you are confused about something, it is important to be reminded that this doesn't make you stupid to do so. Being curious is a good trait! This proverb reminds you to do just that: ask. There is nothing wrong with asking and knowing new things.

7. Ukitaka kula nguruwe, kula aliyenona

Literal translation: If you want to eat a pig, eat a fat one.

Meaning: If you do something, you might as well do it in full force and wholeheartedly

This proverb reminds us that when people do things, don't do it half-heartedly or out of obligation, but rather give your one hundred percent best when you do it. Because you are already in that situation, you might as well give your all and do it with your full commitment, time, and effort, right?

8. Haraka haraka haina baraka

Literal translation: To hurry has no blessing

Meaning: Haste makes waste

When you do things out of rush and quickness, it tends not to reap the best results. Therefore, it becomes a waste, and it will fail. But when you do things slowly but surely and know how to wait, the chances of having a good result are higher and better!

9. Kuishi kwingi ni kuona mengi

Literal translation: To live long is to see much

Meaning: With age also comes experience.

It is a known fact to many that age also comes with great experiences, lessons, and wisdom. This Swahili proverb teaches us that when we grow older, we gain more lessons and skills, but we also gain fruitful and memorable experiences.

These are just a couple of Swahili sayings and Swahili proverbs that can help you kickstart your journey in learning a new language or if you are planning a trip to East Africa! Not only that, but you have also gained new knowledge as well! Be sure to remember these proverbs and sayings just in case you stumble upon them.

If you are looking for a sign to learn more Swahili, then this is it!

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