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Ugandan Proverbs and Sayings

Ugandan Proverbs and Sayings from different communities/tribes around Uganda.

  1. The people who steal your millet at night are often the same people who help you look for it the next morning.
    Community/language of origin: Buganda
    Country: Uganda
  2. If a lizard decides to wear trousers, it should know where to put the tail.
    Community/language of origin: Busoga
    Country: Uganda
  3. An eagle does not eat clouds, it still comes to the ground to feed.
    Community/language of origin: Buganda
    Country: Uganda
  4. The who blows the pipe, controls the tune.
    Community/language of origin: Buganda / Luganda
    Country: Uganda
  5. It takes more than a dye to change the color of an ocean.
    Community/language of origin: Unknown
    Country: Uganda
  6. Koonoweka tokalinda kusaaba ttaka.
    In original language:
    Koonoweka tokalinda kusaaba ttaka.
    Community/language of origin: Buganda
    Country: Uganda
    Could someone translate this proverb into English? Just send me the translation via the contact form, or register and comment on this proverb with the translation & probably explanation of its meaning. Thanks. 🙂
  7. A good harvest does not grow with ease; the more diligent the farmer, the more bountiful the crop.
    Community/language of origin: Unknown
    Country: Uganda
  8. Being a leader is a borrowed garment.
    Community/language of origin: Unknown
    Country: Uganda
  9. If you do not know where you are going, any road will take you there.
    In original language: Obusiru bw’omutwe bumenya bigere.
    Community/language of origin: Unknown
    Country: Uganda
  10. If you don’t use your head well, you will always suffer with your feet.
    Community/language of origin: Buganda/Luganda
    Country: Uganda
  11. A roaring lion kills no game.
    Community/language of origin: Unknown
    Country: Unknown
  12. An axe can be sharp enough to cut down a tree but too blunt to cut off hair.
    Community/language of origin: Unknown
    Country: Uganda
  13. The people who steal your millet at night, are often the same people who help you trace it the next morning.
    Community/language of origin: Ankole
    Country: Uganda
  14. A wife is like an old cooking pot: you don’t let your friend keep it for you.
    Community/language of origin: Unknown
    Country: Uganda
  15. A kraal that has produced one great bull will raise another.
    In original language: Awakula ennume tewakula emu.
    Community/language of origin: Buganda
    Country: Uganda
  16. Success is a ladder which cannot be climbed with your hands in your pockets.
    Community/language of origin: Unknown
    Country: Uganda
  17. The one who pursues you shows you the way of escape.
    In original language: Okugoba yeyakuwa ekubo.
    Community/language of origin: Buganda
    Country: Uganda
  18. That which eats thorns knows how it chews them.
    In original language: Akalya ammaggwa kekamanyi bwekagawuwutanya.
    Community/language of origin: Buganda
    Country: Uganda
  19. A hunter who never shares his kill does not scream when a leopard attacks him.
    Community/language of origin: Unknown
    Country: Uganda
  20. A dispute between an antelope and a wildebeest cannot be arbitrated by a hungry lion.
    Community/language of origin: Bukedea / Teso
    Country: Uganda
  21. If the cooking stick gets broken, it does not spell the end of the cooking.
    In original language: Kufunjika kwa muiko sio muishio wakupika.
    Community/language of origin: Unknown
    Country: Uganda
  22. A bull that wants to die licks an axe.
    Community/language of origin: Unknown
    Country: Uganda
  23. A stick is straightened while still young.
    In original language: Akati kinikwa kakiri kabisa.
    Community/language of origin: Rukiga
    Country: Uganda
  24. Unity is strength!
    In original language: Abayita ababiri bajjukanya
    Community/language of origin: Buganda
    Country: Uganda
  25. Do not hunt what you cannot kill.
    In original language: Toyiiga kyotaate.
    Community/language of origin: Unknown
    Country: Uganda
  26. Mountains never meet, but people do.
    Community/language of origin: Manafa district/Lumasaba language
    Country: Uganda
  27. Flies and maggots have never respected the coffins of dead kings
    In original language: Tsisame ni tsinyende sitsabiratsakakho kimilambo kyebayinga ta.
    Community/language of origin: Bugisu/Lugisu
    Country: Uganda
  28. Whatever God keeps for the poor person does not rot.
    In original language: Kyaterekera omunaku tekyivunda.
    Community/language of origin: Buganda/Luganda
    Country: Uganda
  29. A friend in need is a friend indeed.
    In original language: Munno mukabi, ye munno ddala
    Community/language of origin: Buganda/Luganda
    Country: Uganda
  30. The one whose leg you treat uses it to kick you.
    Community/language of origin: Buganda/Luganda
    Country: Uganda
  31. Action speaks louder than words, sometimes
    Interpretations or English equivalent:
    Appearances can be deceiving; one may not need to display publicly one’s emotions.
    In original language: Nasirika yena akunga o maye.
    Community/language of origin: Lugwere
    Country: Uganda
  32. Bountiful yields of maize (corn) accrue to those without teeth.
    Paraphrased as “Bountiful yields accrue to those without teeth” or “Those without teeth get the biggest yields”.
    Interpretations or English equivalent:
    It is those who have no use for something who get it. Luck comes to those who don’t need it.
    In original language:
    Byerera abataina maino (paraphrased form). Ebicooli byerera abataina maino (longer version).
    Community/language of origin: Runyoro, Rutooro
    Country: Uganda
  33. A man farts from his home.
    Interpretations or English equivalent:
    If you must behave badly, then do it from your home, not in public.
    In original language: Nyin’eka anyampira omuka ye.
    Community/language of origin: Runyoro, Rutooro
    Country: Uganda
  34. Those who walk together warn each other.
    Community/language of origin: Unknown
    Country: Uganda
  35. When a branch of a shrub hits you in the eye, it is alerting you to be more vigilant.
    In original language: Akati kukakuteera omuriisho kati hweeza.
    Community/language of origin: Ankore
    Country: Uganda
  36. Too many tongues spoil the broth.
    In original language: Endimi nyingi itukuriza obushera.
    Community/language of origin: Ankore
    Country: Uganda
  37. Appreciate the little you have before claiming for what you have not achieved.
    In original language: Nyama ntono okayana eri mu nkwawa
    Community/language of origin: Buganda
    Country: Uganda
  38. One by one makes a bundle.
    In original language: Kamu kamu gwe muganda!
    Community/language of origin: Buganda/Luganda
    Country: Uganda
  39. The hunter in pursuit of an elephant does not stop to throw stones at birds
    Community/language of origin: Unknown
    Country: Uganda
  40. The monkey also sweats only that the hair on it prevents one from seeing it
    Community/language of origin: Unknown
    Country: Uganda
  41. You already have enough problems but you still get beaten.
    In original language: Ekuba omunnaku tekya.
    Community/language of origin: Buganda/Luganda
    Country: Uganda

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