Tuesday, January 25, 2011

African Wisdom: A Collection of African Quotes

I love quotes I think it’s a passion I got from my father who often quoted Shakespeare and had a collection of books with quotes. In commemoration of Black History month I have decided to post a collection of some of my favorite African Quotes and Proverbs on a variety of topics. These quotes are full of wisdom and give us a glimpse into African Culture and History. When you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him. ~Ashanti Proverb

     African Thinking Man: Handmade metal art card by Injete

African Quotes on Wisdom
1.    Wisdom is wealth. - Swahili
2.    Wisdom is like a baobab tree; no one individual can embrace it. - Akan Proverb
3.    The fool speaks, the wise man listens. ~Ethiopian Proverb
4.    Wisdom does not come overnight. – Somali
5.    The heart of the wise man lies quiet like limpid water. ~ Cameroon
6.    Wisdom is like fire. People take it from others. - Hema (DRC) Proverb
7.    Only a wise person can solve a difficult problem. ~Akan Proverb
8.    Knowledge without wisdom is like water in the sand. ~ Guinean Proverb
9.    In the moment of crisis, the wise build bridges and the foolish build dams. ~Nigerian
10.  If you are filled with pride, then you will have no room for wisdom.
11.  A wise person will always find a way. ~Tanzanian Proverb
12.  Nobody is born wise. ~African Proverb

Bwa African Mask Painting by Injete (African Quote Card)

African Quotes on Learning
1.    Learning expands great souls. ~Namibian Proverb
2.    To get lost is to learn the way.
3.    By crawling a child learns to stand.
4.    If you close your eyes to facts, you will learn through accidents. ~African Proverb
5.    He who learns, teaches. ~ Ethiopian Proverb
6.    Wealth, if you use it, comes to an end; learning, if you use it, increases. ~Swahili Proverb
7.    By trying often, the monkey learns to jump from the tree. ~Buganda Proverb
8.    You always learn a lot more when you lose than when you win. ~African Proverb
9.    You learn how to cut down trees by cutting them down. ~Bateke Proverb
10.    The wise create proverbs for fools to learn, not to repeat. ~African Proverb
11.    What you help a child to love can be more important than what you help him to learn. ~African Proverb
12.    By the time the fool has learned the game, the players have dispersed. ~Ashanti Proverb
13.    One who causes others misfortune also teaches them wisdom. ~African Proverb
14.    You do not teach the paths of the forest to an old gorilla. ~Congolese Proverb
15.    What you learn is what you die with. ~African Proverb

    Circle of Sisters, Celebration Table: Metal Art by Injete

African Quotes on Unity and Community
1.    Unity is strength, division is weakness. – Swahili
2.    Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable. - Bondei
3.    It takes a village to raise a child. – African proverb
4.    Cross the river in a crowd and the crocodile won't eat you. - African proverb
5.    Many hands make light work. - Haya (Tanzania)
6.    Where there are many, nothing goes wrong. – Swahili
7.    Two ants do not fail to pull one grasshopper. – Tanzania
8.    A single bracelet does not jingle. - Congo
9.    A single stick may smoke, but it will not burn.
10.    If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. - African proverb

    Soul Sisters: African Art Metal Painting by Injete

African Quotes on Family
1.    A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its place.
2.    A united family eats from the same plate. – Baganda
3.    A family tie is like a tree, it can bend but it cannot break.
4.    If I am in harmony with my family, that's success. – Ute
5.    Brothers love each other when they are equally rich.
6.    He who earns calamity, eats it with his family.
7.    Dine with a stranger but save your love for your family. – Ethiopian
8.    The old woman looks after the child to grow its teeth and the young one in turn looks after the old woman when she loses her teeth. - Akan (Ghana, Ivory Coast)
9.    When brothers fight to the death, a stranger inherits their father's estate. – Ibo
10.    Children are the reward of life.

Coffee Art by Injete (African Quote Card)

African Love Quotes and Marriage Quotes
1.    He who loves the vase loves also what is inside. - African Proverb
2.    It's much easier to fall in love than to stay in love. ~African Proverb
3.    Coffee and love taste best when hot. ~Ethiopian Proverb
4.    Where there is love there is no darkness. ~Burundian Proverb
5.    If you are ugly you must either learn to dance or make love. - Zimbabwean Proverb
6.    Pretend you are dead and you will see who really loves you. ~African Proverb
7.    To love the king is not bad, but a king who loves you is better. ~Wolof Proverb
8.    A happy man marries the girl he loves, but a happier man loves the girl he marries. - African Proverb
9.    If you marry a monkey for his wealth, the money goes and the monkey remains as is. - Egyptian Proverb
10.    Love never gets lost it's only kept. ~African Proverb
11.    Never marry a woman who has bigger feet than you. – Mozambique
12.    One thread for the needle, one love for the heart. - Sudanese Proverb
13.    Love has to be shown by deeds not words. – Swahili
14.    Love is a despot who spares no one. ~Namibian Proverb
15.    Marriage is like a groundnut; you have to crack it to see what is inside. – Ghana

     Green Snail: Metal Art Painting by Injete

African Quotes on Patience
1.    Patience is the key which solves all problems. - Sudanese
2.    Hurry hurry has no blessings. – Swahili
3.    Patience is the mother of a beautiful child. - Bantu
4.    To run is not necessarily to arrive. - Swahili
5.    Patience can cook a stone.
6.    A patient man will eat ripe fruit.
7.    At the bottom of patience one finds heaven.
8.    A patient person never misses a thing. - Swahili
9.    Always being in a hurry does not prevent death, neither does going slowly prevent living. – Ibo
10.    However long the night, the dawn will break.

 Sax Player: Abstract Metal Art Card by Injete

African Quotes on Music
  1. Music speaks louder than words. - African Proverb 
  2. Birds sing not because they have answers but because they have songs. - African Proverb 
  3. Music and women should not be dated. - African Proverb 
  4. Even a horn can be stopped from fighting and made to sing forever. - African Proverb 
  5. Good music goes with good food. - African Proverb 
  6. Who does not love to dance, does not love to sing. - Lango Proverb 
  7. He who understands music understands the cosmos. - Egyptian Proverb


  1. This is SO beautiful! I love the way color comes out on metals, just stunning!

  2. Hi Rob thanks I agree I am addicted to working on metal partly because of the vibrant color effect.