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Swahili Proverbs

By June 22, 2020September 1st, 2021Tanzania
Swahili Proverbs

The Swahili people are known for their imagery and complexity of proverbs. These can be seen adorning kangas, the local fabric wraps worn by women throughout Tanzania and Africa more broadly. These proverbs also make a statement about some of the values that define Swahili and Tanzanian culture.

Haraka haraka haina baraka. Haste haste has no blessings.

Polepole (slowly slowly) trekking up Mt. Kilimanjaro

Nyota njeema huonekana asubuhi. A beautiful star is seen in the morning.

Sunrise over Matema Beach in Mbeya

Ndege wa mbawa moja huruka pamoja. Birds of a feather fly together.

Lesser flamingos in flight over Lake Natron

Kupoteza njia ndio kujua njia. To get lost is to know the way.

Lone zebra on the Serengeti plains

Apandae kilele, hupiga kelele. He who climbs to the peak, makes noise.

Pristine Trails travelers at the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro

Kuishi kwingi ni kula asali. To live long is to eat honey.

The Baobab tree, living up to 1,000+ years, serves as a water source for elephants who scratch at its bark

Milima haikutani, binadamu hukutana. Mountains don’t meet but people meet.

Ol Doinyo Lengai, the world’s only active carbonatite volcano

Umoja ni nguvu. Unity is strength.

Typically a solitary cat, cheetah brothers prefer to band together

Chui hakumbatiwi. A leopard isn’t embraced.

The leopard rests after enjoying his meal

Nyumba njema si mlango. A good house isn’t judged by the door.

The Zanzibari door, a distinctive architectural site throughout Stone Town

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