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10 Inspiring African Proverbs to Guide You Through Life

by Cristina Costea

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Wisdom is wealth and the African continent is wise and wealthy beyond imagination. Every African nation has a plethora of inspiring and life-affirming proverbs and sayings that motivate and entertain its people. 

If you need or want a bit of African wisdom in your life, you’re in luck! BookAllSafaris.com has 10 inspiring African proverbs to guide you through life, whether you’re getting ready to embark on your first safari in Kenya or you just need an extra push in your day.

10. On Peace

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There can be no peace without understanding” – Senegal

In today’s society, people don’t seem to practice empathy too much. Because if they did, we wouldn’t have so much conflict and misunderstandings going on. When you understand a person, it means that you can put yourself in their shoes and once that happens, peace can start to take shape. Understanding can lead to peace and the people of Senegal have this wonderful proverb to show the world that.

9. On Acceptance  

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If you find no fish, you have to eat bread” – Ghana

Sometimes, things don’t go the way you want them to go. And when that happens, you have to accept it, take what you can from it, and then move on. We won’t always be ready for whatever life throws at us, and that’s alright, we’re only human and we have no control over certain things. But what we do have control over is the way we react when things don’t go our way. Don’t pout, or throw a tantrum or sulk! Pause and then move on! Better things await!

8. On Work

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You learn how to cut down trees by cutting them down” – Bateke people

Practice, practice, practice! Nobody was born an expert, and the faster you learn that the sooner you’re free to learn the things you want to. So, start cutting your trees, because that’s the only way you will really learn how to do it. Sure, books are vital in the process of education, but the process is incomplete if it’s not followed by practice!  

7. On Love

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Love is a despot who spares no one” – Namibia

Or as the Rolling Stones would put it, Love is Hard. People from all over the world have variations of this proverb and the reason why is because it’s true. Love isn’t just a despot, love isn’t just hard, it’s cruel, heartbreaking, sad and horrible, but it’s also mind-blowing, earth-shattering, amazing, and worth living for. As is with everything else in this life, we need to take the good with the bad!

6. On Beauty

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There is no beauty but the beauty of action” – Morocco

This one is not about physical beauty, but the beauty of taking action, of doing something that is good. Speaking up against wrongdoers, speaking up for your rights or the rights of others, making the decision to pursue an education, or just going on a walk around the block or on a desert safari in Morocco, the birthplace of this saying. That is the only type of beauty that should matter in this world.

5. On Money

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Money is not the medicine against death” – Ghana

… nor is anything else! While having money is certainly nice, we cannot count on it to offer answers and solutions to everything. Sometimes, all the money in the world can’t heal a person, while other times, simple access to basic medicine can save a life. But when it comes to death, nothing can save you from its inevitability.


4. On Friendship

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The friends of our friends are our friends” – Congo

If you get a friend to vouch for a stranger, that person becomes all of a sudden trustworthy! We all know the popular and ancient saying the enemy of my enemy is my friend, but the Congolese people have a more positive, yet similar proverb that showcases how it is our similarities and goodness that bring us together, instead of just the negative. 


3. On Teamwork

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Two ants do not fail to pull one grasshopper” – Tanzania

Do we really need to remind you how important teamwork really is? How are two minds better than one and how there is strength in numbers? No, we don’t, because every culture has a variation on this proverb. So, we’ll just leave you with the mental picture of two ants pulling a grasshopper to lighten up your day!


2. On Leadership

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An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep” – Ghana

This quote is basically summing up the notion that leaders can make or break a community. They have the power to lead their people to success or to run them into the ground, which is why the people need to be very careful when choosing their leaders. This doesn’t seem to happen anymore, so we all need to remind ourselves from time to time of this proverb from Ghana.

1. On Wealth

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The wealth which enslaves the owner isn’t wealth” – Yoruba people

One of the most insightful and inspiring quotes ever comes from the Yoruba people (all 40 million of them). It’s so easy to get wooed by money and wealth and once that happens, man becomes a slave to it. Every now and then, it’s good to remember that the reason why we’re on this planet is not to amass a fortune but to create something beautiful, to be kind to one another, to live in peace and harmony. To be happy!


Feeling inspired to travel to the cradle of civilization? Browse our website, BookAllSafaris.com and book yourself a spot on an African safari that will blow your mind. 

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