Methali za Kiswahili-Swahili Proverbs Part 4

  1. Paka akiondoka, panya hutawala. when the cat goes away, mice reign. cf. When the cat’s away, the mice do play.
  2. Paka hakubali kulala chali. A cat can never he made to lie on its back.
  3. Paka wa nyumba haingwa. A cat belonging to the house is not chased away.
  4. Panapo wengi hapaharibiki neno. Where there are many, nothing goes wrong. (A council of many people ensures that things are kept on the right tines.) cf. Many hands make light work.
  5. Papo kwa papo kamba hukata jiwe. Constant rubbing of a rope will cut a stone. cf. Constant dripping wears away a stone.
  6. Pele hupewa msi kucha. Scabics are given to him who has no fingernails (i.e. who cannot scratch himself).
  7. Pema usijapo pema; ukipema Si pema tena. A good place you don’t go to is a good place: if you go too often, it isn’t a good place any longer. cf. Familiarity brings contempt; or, Outstay one’s welcome.
  8. Penye kuku wengi hapamwagwi mtama. Where there are many fowls, millet is not scattered (i.e. it is not advisable to disclose a secret in the presence of a number of people).
  9. Penye mafundi, hapakosi wanafunzi. Where there are experts there will  lack learners.
  10. Penye mbaya wako, hapakosi mwema wako/na mwema wako hakosi. Where you have an enemy, you will also surely arid a friend.Kiswahili..
  11. Penye miti hakuna wajenzi. Where there are plenty of trees there are no builders.
  12. Penye nia ipo njia. Where there’s a will there’s a way.
  13. Penye urembo ndipo penye urimbo. Where there is finery, there lies the snare (Lit: birdlime).
  14. Penye wazee haliharibiki neno. Where there are old people, nothing goes wrong.
  15. Penye wengi pana mengi. Where there are many (present) there is much (said).
  16. Penye wengi pana Mungu. Where there are many people, there God is
  17. Pilipili usozila zakuwashiani? How can you be burnt by chilies which you have not eaten?
  18. Pofu hasahau mkongoja wake. A blind person does not forget his walking stick.
  19. Pwagu hupata pwaguzi. A thief finds another one (who is a bigger and better thief than he is). Cf. When Greek meets Greek.
  20. Radhi ni bora kuliko mali Blessings are better than wealth,
  21. Sahani iliyofunikwa, kilichomo kimesitirika. When a plate is covered, its contents are hidden.
  22. Samaki mmoja akioza, huoza wote. If one fish rots, they all rot. cf. A rotten apple spoils its neighbors. A sickly sheep infects the whole flock.
  23. Shika! Shika! na mwenyewe nyuma. Hold him! Hold him! and you yourself after him (i.e. you shouldn’t expect others to do all the work).mapenzi_420
  24. Shimo Ia ulimi mkono haufutiki. A pit of (dug by) the tongue cannot be covered up by the hand (words are more dangerous). Cf. The pen is mightier than the sword.
  25. Shoka lisilo mpini halichanji kuni. An axe with no handle does not split firewood.
  26. Si kila mwenye makucha huwa simba. Not all that have claws are lions. See: All that glitters is not gold.
  27. Sikio halilali na njaa. An ear dots not go to bed hungry (there’s always plenty of gossip).
  28. Sikio halipwani kichwa. Alt: Sikio halipiti kichwa. The ear does not surpass the head.
  29. Sikio Ia kufa halisikii dawa. A dying ear does not feel the medicine.
  30. Siku njema huonekana asubuhi. A good day becomes evident in the morning.
  31. Siku utakayokwenda uchi, ndiyo siku utakayokutana na mkweo. The day you go naked, is the day you will meet your father/
  32. Simba mwenda kimya(pole) ndiye mla nyama. The lion which moves silently is the one that eats meat.
  33. Simbiko haisimbuki ila kwa msukosuko. A thing that is firmly fixed cannot be dislodged except with much trouble.
  34. Sitafuga ndwele na waganga tele. I shall not suffer illness while doctors abound.
  35. Subira ni ufunguo Wa faraja. Patience is the key to tranquility.
  36. Subira yavuta heri, huleta kilicho mbali. Patience attracts happiness; it brings near that which is far.
  37. Sumu ya neno ni neno. The poison for a word is a word. cf. Tit for tat.
  38. Tamaa mbele, mauti nyuma. Desire first, death afterwards, (i.e. ‘No one ever thinks of the possibility of death when concentrating on achieving a particular end).
  39. Taratibu ndiyo mwendo. Slowly is indeed the way to walk. Cf. He that goes slowly goes surely, or, Hasten slowly. or, Slow but sure.
  40. Teke Ia kuku halimwumizi mwanawe A hen’s kick does not hurt her chick.
  41. Tonga si tuwi The juice of an Immature coconut Is not like the real coconut juice.
  42. Ucheshi wa mtoto ni anga Ia nyumba. The laughter of a child lights up the house.
  43. Uchungu wa mwana, aujua mzazi. The Iabour of childbirth is known to the mother.prov
  44. Udongo uwahi ungali maji Work the clay while it is still wet Cf. Strike while the iron is hot
  45. Udugu wa nazi hukutania chunguni The brotherhood of coconuts is a meeting in the cook- in pot (said of people who do not cooperate until it is too late).
  46. Ukenda kwa wenye chongo, vunja lako jicho. When you go among one-eyed people, put out your own eye. Cf. Where ignorance is bliss, it is folly to be wise, or, When in Rome, do as the Romans do (?).
  47. Ukiona kwako kunaungua kwa mwenzako kunateketea. If you find your own house is on fire, you may be sure that your neighbour’s house is burning much more fiercely.
  48. Ukiona neno, usiposema neno, hutapatikana na neno. If you see something and say nothing, you will have nothing to suffer for. Cf. Mind your own business, or, Hear all, see all, say nothing.
  49. Ukiona vinaelea, vimeundwa. If you see vessels afloat, remember that they have had to be built.
  50. Ukiona zinduna, ambari iko nyuma. If you see amber, ambergris is (not far) behind, (i.e. Where there is a jealous husband, there will be jealous wife). (Sauce for the goose . . .?)
  51. Ukipewa shibiri usichukue pima. If you are offered a span, do not take a couple of yards. Cf. Give him an inch and he will take an ell.
  52. Ukupigao ndio ukufunzao. What beats you is what teaches you. Cf. Spare the rod and spoil the child.
  53. Ukistaajabu ya Mussa utaona ya Firauni. If you are astonished at Moses’ deeds, you will be more astonished at Pharaoh’s. Not-Moses declared himself to he a prophet, but Pharaoh declared himself to be God.
  54. Ukitaja nyoka, shika fimbo mkononi. When you mention a snake, have a stick ready in your hand. Talk of the devil, and you’ll hear the rustle of his wings.
  55. . Ukitaka kula nguruwe, chagua aliyeno,na. If you want to eat pig, choose one which is fat. Cf. As well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb. (Muslims are forbidden pork).
  56. Ukitaka uzuri sharti udhurike. If you want beauty, you must (first) be injuredkiswahili
  57. Ukuukuu wa kamba Si upya wa ukambaa. A well-worn coir-rope is better than a new rope made from raffia.
  58. Ulimi hauna mfupa. A tongue has no bone (i.e. it can get round anything, both literally and metaphorically).
  59. Ulimi unauma kuliko meno. The tongue hurts more than the teeth.
  60. Ulipendalo hupati, hupata ujaliwalo. You will not necessarily get what you desire, you will get what is appointed you (by God). Cf. Man proposes, God disposes.
  61. Ulivyoligema utalinywa. As you tapped it (palm-wine) you will (have to) drink. Cf. As you sow, so shall you reap, or, You have made your bed and now you must lie on it.
  62. Umejigeuza pweza, unajipalia makaa? Have you changed into a cattle-fish, (that) you heap live embers on yourself?
  63. Umekuwa bata akili kwa watoto? Are you a duck (that) your mind is with your children?
  64. Umekuwa jeta hubanduki? Are you a Jeta, (that) you do not move?
  65. Umekuwa nguva, huhimili kishindo? Are you a dugong, (that) you cannot bear a wound?
  66. Unamlaumu mwewe, kipanga yuwesha kuku. You are blaming the hawk, (while) the falcon is killing the chickens.
  67. Ungalijua alacho nyuki, usingalionja asali. Had you known what bees eat, you would not have tasted the honey.
  68. Ushikwapo shikamana. When you are seized, hold on yourself.
  69. Usiache kunanua kwa kutega. Do not neglect the undoing (of a trap that has caught) for the setting (of others). cf. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  70. Usiache mbachao kwa msala upitao. Never give up your own old mat for a better prayer mat which you see passing.
  71. Usicheze na simba, ukamtia mkono kinywani. When you play with a lion, do not put your hand in its mouth (that would be going too far!).
  72. Usigombe na mkwezi, nazi imeliwa na mwezi. Don’t quarrel with the coconut-palm climber: the coconut has been eaten by the moon.
  73. Usijifanye kuku mweupe. Do not pretend to be a white fowl (you’re only an ordinary chap).
  74. Usikaange mbuyu ukawaachia wenye meno watafune. Do not roast baobab kernels and leave those who have teeth chewing (them).
  75. Usile na kipofu ukamgusa rnkono. When you are eating with a blind man, do not touch his hand. (to do so will lead him to suspect that either the food is finished or you are trying to play a trick on him. In other words, with a simple person you must be very careful lest you might do something to make him suspicious of you)
  76. Usimwamshe aliyelala utalala wewe. Do not wake one who is sleeping; you will fall asleep yourself.
  77. Usinivishe kilemba cha ukoka. Do not put a grass turban on my head, (i.e. do not flatter me).
  78. Usipoziba ufa utajenga ukuta. If you do not fill up a crack, you will have to build a wall. cf. A stitch in time saves nine
  79. Usisafiriye na nyota ya mwenzio. Don’t travel under another’s lucky star (i.e. do not rely on someone else’s good fortune).BE POSITIVE
  80. Usisahau ubaharia kwa sababu ya unahodha. Do not forget what it is to be a sailor because of being a captain yourself.
  81. Usishindane na Kari; Kari ni mja wa Mungu. Do not compete with Kari, Kari comes from God.
  82. Usitukane wagema na ulevi ungalipo. Speak no ill of palm-wine tappers as long as drinking persists
  83. Usitukane wakunga na uzazi ‘ungalipo. Speak no ill of midwives while childbirth still continues.
  84. Usiyavuke maji usiyoweza kuyaoga. Do not cross water that is too deep for wading.



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