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African Proverbs From Ghana

Guest Author - Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu

There are six main ethnic groups in Ghana. Well known as the land of festivals, music, and traditional dances, Ghana has many festivals throughout the year. Kente cloth is made in Ghana, generally woven by the men of the Ashanti tribe. The tribes in Ghana have rich traditions and here are some of their proverbs reflecting that tradition.


You don't need a light to see someone you know intimately at night.

If a poor person has nothing else, he has at least a sweet tongue with which to defer the payments of his debts.

If a blind man says he will throw a stone at you, he probably has his foot on one.

All heads are the same, but not all thoughts are the same.

He who has named his child "stop fighting" does not make bullets.

A lie can destroy a thousand truths.

The hunter's name is always connected to the meat of the elephant.

If you find no fish, you have to eat bread.

If the elders leave you a legacy of dignified language, you do not abandon it and speak childish language.

A stranger dances - he does not sing.

If your neighbor comes to your house with an unmannerly child, do not defer to the child or he will tear your hat to pieces.

A healthy person who begs for food is an insult to a generous farmer.

No one completes a journey and then goes back to look for the beginning.

If a thing is lost, we start looking for it in the house.

A leader does not listen to rumors.

Marriage is like a ground nut, you must crack it to see what is inside.

When a man is wealthy, he may wear an old cloth.

Even the lion, the king of the forest, protects himself against flies.

Misfortune does not restrict his visits to one day.

It is the calm and silent water that drowns a man.

A crazy chief is more noted than ten normal people.

It is better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.

Nature gave us two cheeks instead of one to make it easier to eat hot food.

They ate our food, and forgot our names.

When a king has good counselors, his reign is peaceful.

Does humanity become civilized all at once?

When a woman is hungry, she says, "Roast something for the children that they may eat."

Every dog is a lion at his own gate.

When a fish rots, the head stinks first.

Misfortune does not restrict his visits to one day.

The surface of the water is beautiful, but it is no good to sleep on.

An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep.

If you travel, you see things with your own eyes.

A child does not laugh at the ugliness of his mother.

Something good is in a long life.

If your sister is in the group of singing girls, you name always comes into the song.

If your servants are afraid of you, they do not win victories for you.

If you understand the beginning well, the end will not trouble you.

Hunger is felt by a slave and hunger is felt by a king.

A child who is to be successful is not reared exclusively on a bed of down.

If there were no elephant in the jungle, the buffalo would be a great animal.

A leader goes to war when he is insulted.

One camel does not make fun of the other camel's hump.

The frog does not eat hot chilies for the lizard to sweat.

The hero shows his courage in the battle field not in the house.

If you are not sleeping in a bed with someone, you don't struggle for his half of the bed.

The person that we know in the daytime, we don't light a lamp to see his face in the night.

True power comes through cooperation and silence.

Be glad you are unknown, for when you are known, you would wish you weren't.

A people without a leader ruin the town.

Leopard does not eat leopard.

Do good because of tomorrow.

The ruin of nation begins in the homes of it's people.

The music lover carries the drums.

People start preparing for the night when the day is still very young.

When a king has good counselors his reign is peaceful.

No man rules forever on the throne of time.

Nobody shows heaven to a child.

Numbers can achieve anything.

Tradition remains in the ear.

The creator of dance should not be excluded from it.

One head does not contain all the wisdom.

Where there is a head, one does not put a hat on the knee.

The elders of the village are the boundaries.

Where error gets to, correction cannot reach.

One head alone does not go into council.

Money is sharper than a sword.

The grasshopper which is always near its mother eats the best food.

Everyone has God-Given beauty.

The poorest person in the world is not the one without money but one without vision.

If we put a hammer in every person's hand, could they all become blacksmiths?

The goat says, "Where there is blood, there is plenty of food."
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Content copyright © 2014 by Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Dawn Denton for details.

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