Korea, Africa have many things in common in wise-sayings
Korea, Africa have many things in common in wise-sayings
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  • 승인 2014.01.28 14:39
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African proverbs by Dr. Sang-Ki Hahn

There are many things in common between the different countries of Africa and Korea, and among them are the proverbs of the African peoples and Koreans. The proverbs of the African countries show the wisdom and philosophy of their ancestors as do those of the Korean people. Here are the proverbs of the different countries and regions of Africa provided in the book entitled ‘Africa, African People and African Proverbs’ by Dr. Sang Ki Hahn who lived and visited many African countries for more than two decades helping the African people through his research at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on the root crops such as cassava, yam and sweet potatoes and later on cooking banana which are the basic staple crops in the continent.


-There are people who, like sugar cane, are killed for being sweet.
-Knowing too much is like being ignorant.
-Nobody is forced to build his hut on the patterns of his wakini.
-The donkey exists alongside cattle.
-The name is a useless thing.
-There is nothing which does not cause another to exist.
-It is the ear that penetrates through darkness, not the eye.
-To harvest is not so difficult as to keep the harvest.
-He who has nothing has no heart.
-I cannot distinguish silence from danger.
-Joy does not last long.
-The heart is a thick forest which cannot be penetrated by anybody.
-The forest of the heart cannot be cut down by somebody else.
-If a tree stands on a hill, it soon becomes tall.
-Oh, for the (good) past! Past and to come seem best: things present, worst.
-A plant loses it’s blossoms as it bears fruits.
-You agree like the yam and the tree to which it clings
-If the first goat goes lame, those that follow will not reach the pasture.
-The bell needs its tongue (clang).
-It is he who has got milk that is merciful
-Every case begins from the stomach.
-Many axes in one basket must hit against each other.
-The picking up of only the good things dose not fill one’s barn.
-When lions have gone, hyenas dance.
-Birds agree when flying down, but do not agree when flying up.
-The belly is not head.
-Kamau who is white becomes black
-There is no rain which does not enrich someone.
-To blame the wind for the rain that does not fall.
-Cross the stream where it roars.
-Traveling is learning.
-The road never says to travelers.
-On the way to one’s beloved, there are no hills.
-The feet go the way of the head.
-The ram that is show around is not fat.
-To good clothes no ornament is added.
-The witch-doctor of the place is not honored.
-Both the chaser and the chased become tired


-If youthful arrogance were wealth, every one of us would have been wealthy.
-All wisdom is from God.
-When one start on the road to evil, advice becomes a jock
-The town called‘I-will-not-forgive’ never grows big.
-By the words of a man’s mouth, you can know his mind.
-If you go too near a person, he tears you with contempt.
-Adversity tests the sincerity of the friends and neighbors.
-True love is not based on wealth.
-If someone says he will carry you, you do not say ‘I will walk’.
-If someone strikes the top of your head, he strengthens your neck.
-The past remains in the ears.
-The tree on the bank of a river rarely wither.
-The brown leaves are on the tree, while the green ones are dropping.
-The animal dies under the tree it likes best.
-If a great tree falls, the soft pawpaw tree grows in its place.
-If one does not know, another man teaches one.
-The tree that is hard does not stand long on the farm.
-One tree does not make a forest.
-If a member of the family or clan is lost, he is called back by the horn of the clan.
-The left hand washes the right hand and the right washes the left.
-If the grasshopper breaks the earth, dust goes in to its eyes.
-Even if goat becomes sheep, his black spots will remain unchanged.
-One palm tree (among many) can spoil the taste of the entire palm wine
-The strength of the palm tree is it’s branches.
-A man dies but his tongue dose not rot.
-One cannot store water in his stomach for the harmattan (dry season).
-One does not run away from goodness.
-A man’s appearance shows the state of his domestic affairs.
-If you do not carry it on black hair, you carry it on grey hair.
-However big a stranger’s eyes, he cannot see enough with them. The stranger is like a flood.
-If you have no master, anybody can sell you into slavery.
-If your part of the battle-field is covered with thorns, you do not leave your position and go to stand where the ground is good.
-The ears trouble the mouth.
-One does not break the calabash from which he drinks palm wine.
-He who seems to be pleading for you may be secretly working against you.
-The destruction of a castle comes from within (the mind).
-One has to show one’s pride at one’s mother’s fireplace, not at another man’s mother’s (fireplace).
-One does not measure the depth of the river with two feet.
-It is big mouth that says big things.
-One does not exchange eagle feathers for the feathers of a vulture.
-If you wish it (anything dirty) to be poured on your neighbor, it is rather poured on you.
-Abuse is mere wind.
-If the yam does not grow well, we should not blame yam alone; it is also much due to soil.
-The neck does not go before the head. (Also Tanzania)
-There is no clearing that looks at itself. (Also Tanzania)
-The cow has no owner. (Also Tanzania).
-No one can predict what will happen tomorrow morning. (Also Tanzania).
-There is no clearing that looks at itself. (Also Tanzania).

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