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African Proverbs on Music, Song and Dance

Guest Author - Jeanne Egbosiuba Ukwendu

Singing, dancing and music are very important parts of African culture. You can find singing, dancing and music at weddings, funerals, and other rites of passage in African society. Here are some proverbs that reflect the importance of song, music and dance.


The best dancer comes from the sitting lounge. ~African Proverb

Birds sing not because they have answers but because they have songs. ~African Proverb

Even the fall of a dancer is a somersault. ~Senegalese Proverb

Even the best dancer on the stage must retire sometime. ~African Proverb

Music speaks louder than words. ~African Proverb

Singing "Alelulia" everywhere does not prove piety. ~Ethiopian Proverb

A child brought up where there is always dancing cannot fail to dance. ~Chewa & Nyanja Proverb

Even without drumbeats, banana leaves dance. ~African Proverblamellaphone

He who cannot dance will say, "The drum is bad!" ~Ashanti Proverb

Darkness caused to dance even him who cannot. ~Kikuyu Proverb

He who is a mocker dances without a tambourine. ~Moroccan Proverb

An old cat will never learn to dance. ~Moroccan Proverb

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

If you aren't in your own home, you dance while seated. ~African Proverb

You can catch a cricket in your hand but its song is all over the field. ~Malagasy Proverb

When the music changes, so does the dance. ~Nigerian Proverb

Music and women should not be dated. ~African Proverb

The beginning of a dance is lele. ~Swahili Proverb

Dance in the sun, but turn your back to the clouds. ~Zimbabwean Proverb

The song that has no leader, goes wrong. ~Kikuyu Proverb

If your child is dancing clumsily, tell him: 'you are dancing clumsily'; do not tell him: 'darling, do as you please.' ~Twi Proverb

The song of a stranger-woman is answered after she has gone. Kikuyu Proverb

A stranger dances - he does not sing. ~Ghanaian Proverb

If you are ugly you must either learn to dance or make love. ~Zimbabwean Proverb

In a fiddler's house, all are dancers. ~Rwandan Proverb

You cannot dance well on only one leg. ~Mozambican Proverb

A tree that refuses to dance will be made to do so by the wind. ~African Proverb

He that beats the drum for the mad man to dance is no better than the mad man himself. ~African Proverb

Even a horn can be stopped from fighting and made to sing forever. ~African Proverb

A woman is never old when it comes to the dance she knows. ~African Proverb

If you carry the egg basket do not dance. ~Ambede Proverb

Good music goes with good food. ~African Proverb

What makes the drum pleasing is the song. ~Bantu Proverb

When the music stops, a deaf person continues to dance. ~Igbo Proverb

The rich man never dances badly. ~Rwandan ProverbHourglass Drum

Dance, father, people's eyes don't eat, they just stare. ~Lamba Proverb

Two guests love a different song. ~Kikuyu Proverb

The canary that dances along the bush path must have its drummer in the nearby bush. ~African Proverb

He who spends his time adorning himself knows he is going to a dance. ~Kikuyu Proverb

The hottest music and dance always comes from home. ~African Proverb

If you are ugly, learn how to dance. ~Zambian Proverb

When a woman is not singing, she is not working much either. ~Egyptian Proverb

He who is unable to dance says that the yard is stony. ~Maasai Proverb

When the drummers change their beats the dancers must also change their steps. ~African Proverb

God is good, but never dance with a lion. ~Zimbabwean Proverb

Move your neck according to the music. ~Ethiopian Proverb

If you can walk you can dance, if you can talk you can sing. ~Zimbabwean & Sudanese Proverb

You cannot dance without music though you can sing instrumentally without dancing. ~African Proverb

When the music changes, then the rhythm of the dance must change also. ~Tuareg Proverb

The man who can't dance says the band can't play. ~Guinean Proverb

Songs learnt from outside sources are not used at a dance so long. ~Swahili Proverb

Even drumsticks are heavy on the way home after the dance. ~African Proverb

He has danced topsy-turvy (upside down). ~Meru Proverb

Who does not love to dance, does not love to sing. ~Lango Proverb

A cockroach knows how to sing and dance, but it is the hen who prevents it from performing its art during the day. ~Edo People of Nigeria

If you don't want a tail of a monkey to touch you then don't attend the monkey dance. ~African Proverb

A rooster does not sing on two roofs. ~Ntomba Proverb

If you can't dance well, you'd better not get up. ~Nigerian Proverb

Even the sharpest ear cannot hear an ant singing. ~Sudanese Proverb

He who dances at home will be rewarded. ~Swahili Proverb

A dancer will not become crippled for dancing calls for grace. ~Swahili Proverb

An old woman is not old in a song she dances well. ~Nigerian Proverb

The song sang by men when going to hunt is not the same song they sing when they come back. ~African Proverb

He who adorns himself knows to what sort of dance he is going. ~Kikuyu Proverb

Do not go gathering fruit when a dance is taking place. ~Maasai Proverb

He who understands music understands the cosmos. ~Egyptian Proverb

Bad dancing does not break an engagement. ~Kenyan Proverb

If the rhythm of the drum beat changes, the dance steps must adapt. ~Kossi Proverb

When you play the flute in Zanzibar all Africa dances. ~Zanzibar Proverb

African Proverbs for Weddings, Marriage, and LoveAfrican Proverbs for Weddings, Marriage and Love
This eBook contains many African proverbs on love and marriage. Some proverbs are very sweet and romantic while others are tongue in cheek and almost making fun of love and romance.
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African Proverbs on Marriage
African Proverbs On Wisdom
What Is An African Proverb?
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Content copyright © 2013 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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