15 Famous South African Proverbs and their meaning

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South African Proverbs has been the basic of meaningful and successful conversation in South African Communities. In some communities, maturity is measured by the number of proverbs you can speak and clearly explain when the situation arises.

These proverbs which are generally tied to the culture and history of Africa are rich, inspirational, educative and most time very funny.

Here are 15 Famous South African Proverbs and their meaning

15.  Famous South African Proverbs

1. You cannot beat a drum with one finger

Meaning: You have to give all your energy and attention to anything you do.

2. When you have a lot to do, start with a meal

Meaning: Prepare is vital before doing anything

3. A roaring lion will kill no one

Meaning: Talking alone will not make you successful, you have to match words with action.

4. If you start looking for a fly in your food, it means that you are full

Meaning: You can only start looking for mistakes in a situation when you are satisfied.

5. When two elephants meet on a narrow bridge, they cannot go anywhere until one of them lies down

Meaning: Sometimes people need to give way and help others succeed.

6. You cannot drink medicine on behalf of a sick person

Meaning: There are situation where people need to face their challenges on their own.

7. A crocodile’s strength is in the water

Meaning: Everyone has their comfort zone

8. After you climb a mountain and reach the top, do not forget the shrubs that you stepped on while climbing.

Meaning: Don’t forget those that help and cheer you up to the top

9. When you are crying for rain, you are crying for mud too

Meaning: Good situations come with consequences, if you are looking for one, be ready for the consequences.

10. Old Age does not announce itself

Meaning: Maturity is not in words but actions

11. The woman who always complains and is never satisfied with anything is like an annoying flea on the foot.

Meaning: If you complains a lot you can force people to see you as a fool

12. The impatient person eats goat; the one who hesitates eats beef.

Meaning: Something better will always come if you are patient.

13. The iguana puffs itself out to make itself a man

Meaning: Some People Show off so that they can be important

14. When a bird builds its nest it uses the feathers of other birds

Meaning: Cooperation and understanding solves any problem

15. Sugarcane is always sweetest at the joint.

Meaning : The most difficult tasks are often the sweetest


Image Credit: NY Times

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