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African Proverbs From Cameroon

Guest Author - Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu

Cameroon, once two separate colonies - one French and the other British - was combined into one country in 1961. Cameroon is a very diverse country with over 250 languages and many more dialects. Although there is such diversity in Cameroon, there is very minimal tribal and religious strife.

Here are some proverbs from this diverse and harmonious country.


A bird that allows itself to be caught will find a way of escaping.

It is useless to be afraid of death.

The darkness of night cannot stop the light of morning.

He who asks questions cannot avoid the answers.

By trying often, the monkey learns to jump from the tree.

If the fight is tomorrow, then why should you clench your fist today?

Knowledge is better than riches.

What you don't know you will not recognize.

You do not consult an oracle when you already know the cause of illness.Cameroonian Prayer Figure

Thought breaks the heart.

Every smart man is an ignoramus who abuses his ignorance.

The heart of the wise man lies quiet like limpid water.

Better a mistake at the beginning than at the end.

Lying will get you a wife, but it won't keep her.

The sound of a drum is not determined by its size nor the skills of a drummer but by his strength.

Beauty is an empty calabash.

When the poor man sets a trap only his dog gets caught.

The folly of a man is not broadcast like that of a woman.

The bigger the head, the bigger the headaches.

If love is a sickness, patience is the remedy.

There is no doctor on the day you die.

Do not step on the dog's tail and he will not bite you.

A chattering bird builds no nest.

There are no shortcuts to the top of the palm tree.

It is the pot that boils, but the dish that gets the credit.

Thought is free.

However swift a man, he will not outstrip his shadow.

Singing birds don't build nests.

The cricket cries, the year changes.

However little you think of the elephant, you can't say it won't fill a pot.

A building of sand falls as you build it.

No matter how fast a man is, he cannot outrun his shadow.

When the vine entwines your roof, it is time to cut it down.

The fire cannot be put out with your hands.

A man's wealth may be superior to him.

The rain falls on only one roof.

She is like a road -- pretty, but crooked.

One father can feed seven children, but seven children cannot feed one father.

You cannot produce one human being without uniting two bodies.

A friend is worth more than a brother.

By trying repeatedly, the monkey learns how to jump from the tree.

An elephant which kills a rat is not a hero.

If the panther knew how much he is feared, he would do much more harm.

If everyone is going to dance, who, then, would watch?

An elephant will reach the roof of the house.

If you ask questions, you cannot avoid answers.

You come with a cat and call it a rabbit.

The flood takes him in, and the ebb takes him out.

If you do not step on the dog's tail, he will not bite you.

Water always finds a way out.

Rain does not fall on one roof alone.

If you show off your strength, you will start a battle.

It is better to be the victim of injustice than to be unjust yourself.

No matter how powerful one is, one can never make the rain fall only on his own home.

The day did not know that night had fallen.

Better little than too little.
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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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