The African culture is rich in proverbs and deep quotes carved from life events, elderly wisdom, and sheer common sense. Kenya is not left out. The Swahili language, the official language of Kenya, is rich in sayings and quotes that can make you rethink life and clarify certain decisions. To help you better appreciate the language, we’ll walk you through some Swahili quotes you can use daily. So, if you want to sound wise or impress your Swahili friends, let’s get started immediately!
10+ Swahili Quotes To Know
Let’s look deeper into some Swahili sayings that hold great wisdom and meaning.
Haraka Haraka Haina Baraka [Speechword voice=”Swahili Male” isinline]Haraka Haraka Haina Baraka[/Speechword]
Translation: Hurry Hurry Has No Blessing.
We are starting with the most common Swahili quote, which means “hurry has no blessing,” which may give you a clue into what this quote means. It means that you don’t need to rush anything in life. Like in the Kenyan culture, they cherish every moment they have with friends and family and would instead take life slowly.
Haraka haraka haina baraka is a great way to tell a person to be patient and take things slowly or to avoid making a significant decision hastily. Remember, haste makes waste.
Bahati Haibishi Mara Mbili [Speechword voice=”Swahili Male” isinline]Bahati Haibishi Mara Mbili[/Speechword]
Translation: Luck Doesn’t Knock/Repeat Itself Twice
Have you ever had an opportunity to do something but because of your nonchalant attitude, the opportunity slipped away? It has happened to most of us. This Swahili proverb or quote reminds you that whenever you see an excellent opportunity to do something, do not let it slip away because it may never show itself again. So, make good use of options.
Pilipili Usozila Zakuwashiani? [Speechword voice=”Swahili Male” isinline]Pilipili Usozila Zakuwashiani?[/Speechword]
Translation: Will Peppers You’ve Not Eaten Burn You?
This Swahili quote has a deeper meaning than just pepper, although if you’ve ever tasted some Kenyan cuisines, you will agree with me that there is a considerable amount of pepper in their food. However, this Swahili proverb teaches one minding own business. It is another way of telling someone to mind their business and not get worked up about someone else’s issues.
Imagine you getting worried that your celebrity crush’s baby will go missing if they go on the vacation they’ve announced on their Instagram. Maybe it is time to stop eating the peppers.
Afya Ni Bora Kuliko Mali [Speechword voice=”Swahili Male” isinline]Afya Ni Bora Kuliko Mali [/Speechword]
Translation: Health Is Better Than Wealth
This is a famous saying in Kenya and other Swahili-speaking countries. You will catch both Swahili women and men quoting this phrase in between conversations. It is just a gentle reminder that you should take care of your health. No job or cause is so significant to trade off your health for.
Uzuri Wa Taa Utaujua Kiza Kiingiapo [Speechword voice=”Swahili Male” isinline]Uzuri Wa Taa Utaujua Kiza Kiingiapo[/Speechword]
Translation: You Will Know The Beauty Of The Light Until It Gets Dark
It has a similar meaning to this popular adage, ‘you never know the importance of what you have unless you lose it. It reminds you that you should cherish the people around you and love them while they are still around.
Kuuliza Si Ujinga [Speechword voice=”Swahili Male” isinline]Kuuliza Si Ujinga[/Speechword]
Translation: Asking Is Not Stupid
This is another Swahili quote that is used frequently. Sometimes, our ego gets in the way, and we feel too scared or proud to ask questions that can make a longing impact. So, the Swahili speakers know you will never get the correct information if you don’t ask. Therefore, it is never foolish to ask questions for clarification and information.
Akili Ni Mali [Speechword voice=”Swahili Male” isinline]Akili Ni Mali[/Speechword]
Translation: Knowledge Is Wealth
Like the ‘knowledge is power, Akili ni mali also supports that you must gain knowledge to stay ahead. East Africa cherishes education and believes that education can make a huge difference in how the future turns out.
Daima Bidii, Kamba Hukata Jiwe [Speechword voice=”Swahili Male” isinline]Daima Bidii, Kamba Hukata Jiwe[/Speechword]
Translation: Even A Rope Can Cut A Stone If It Persists
Persistence, even in the face of challenges, sometimes leads to success. Giving up when you’ve not given your all is a waste of time. So, this Swahili proverb believes that persistence in anything can lead to a breakthrough.
Matamshi Mazuri Ni Heri Kuliko Zawadi [Speechword voice=”Swahili Male” isinline]Matamshi Mazuri Ni Heri Kuliko Zawadi[/Speechword]
Translation: Kind Words Are Better Than Gifts.
This is a Swahili saying that encourages people to watch their tongue. We can all say mean things in the heat of the moment that will not tell, but the effect afterward cannot be measured. People are sensitive to words, and a kind word can be worth more than a million gifts of forgiveness.
Ahadi Ni Deni [Speechword voice=”Swahili Male” isinline]Ahadi Ni Deni[/Speechword]
Translation: A Promise Is A Debt.
Be careful when you make promises because you will have to be accountable. A sign of maturity and integrity is keeping to your word, and Kenyans cherish that. So, while this saying may be about promises, it also tells you that you should keep your word no matter what.
Nyumba Nzuri Si Mlango, Fungua Uingie Ndani [Speechword voice=”Swahili Male” isinline]Nyumba Nzuri Si Mlango, Fungua Uingie Ndani[/Speechword]
Translation: A good House Is Not A Door, Open It And Enter.
This is a Swahili saying that I love. It says that you can never know the goodness of a person or something without giving them a chance. It is another variation of “Don’t judge a book by its cover” or “Don’t judge by the outward appearance.” Ensure you give someone or something a chance before coming to a conclusion.
Wow! We’ve all grown wiser with these Swahili quotes. I am sure you’ve been able to catch one or two quotes you can use in your daily conversations. If you’ve been interested in learning the Swahili language, one of the tips I will give you is to start with the basic words and phrases, then find an excellent language-learning app to guide you.
That is why I want to introduce the Ling App to you!
Learn Swahili With Ling App
The Ling App is a language learning platform developed by a team of experts to help language learners go from complete beginners to fluent speakers quickly while having fun. It comes integrated with a gamified experience, so it feels relaxing. Some of the features you get access to our grammar lessons, quizzes, a chatbot for speaking practice, audio recordings for accent and intonation, daily reminders, flashcards, and a lot more.