This Shona language page contains a list of Shona proverbs with corresponding English translations. Proverbs that are commonly-used by most of Shona speaking people.
Shona proverbs are no more than short expressions of popular wisdom. Wisdom gained through general observation and experience, and serve to educate the young and caution those who know them.
Instructional proverbs emphasize cultural values and beliefs. Shona proverbs were known and used way before written Shona language.
|Kupedza nyota kuenda padziva.||To quench thirst is to go to the pool.||If help or information is wanted, one should go to an expert or an eyewitness.
|Charovedzera charovedzera; gudo rakakwira mawere kwasviba.||One who is used to something is one who is used to something; the baboon climbed the precipice in the dark.||We do easily that to which we are accustomed.
|Kuziva mbuya huudzwa.||To know one's in-laws means being told who they are.||Wisdom comes from others.
|Dzvinyu kuzamba zuva huona bako.||For a lizard to bask in the sun is to have a cave in view.||If you venture into danger, be sure you have a means of escape.
|Chirema ndechina mazano chinotamba chakazendama kumadziro.||A cripple is one who has sense; he dances while leaning against the walls.||A person must come to terms with his limitations.
|Mai musuva usingasehwi mumuto.||Mother is a morsel but not dipped into gravy.||Some persons are sacred, and not for common use.
|Rina manyanga hariputirwi mumushunje.||That which has horns is not concealed in a bundle of grass.||Nothing can be hidden forever.
|Tenda muchero wadya zvinogadza mwoyo.||Be grateful for the fruit having eaten to satisfaction.||Do not count your chickens before they are hatched.
|Tsvaga zano iwe une rakowo.||Seek a plan when you have one of your own.||
|Muno kufamba kunenge kukavira nyimo, kutizira kuchinge kudyara nzungu, kucheuka kukange kutsindire'shwa.||You have a walk like the planting of ground-peas, a run like the sowing of ground-nuts, a turning as in the capture of termites.||
The meaning of each proverb shown above is one possible interpretation of the proverb for proverbs use metaphors. One of the largest collection of Shona proverbs is in a book by M. A. Hamutyinei and A. B. Plangger,
Tsumo-Shumo: Shona Proverbial Lore and Wisdom
(Gwelo, Mambo Press, 1974).
Submitting Shona Words
Help increase the Shona word list in the database for these Shona Language pages by submitting additional words I omitted and their meanings. Omissions may include instances where I did not cover all possible meanings of a word. In that case, treat the word as a new word and include all possible meanings for the word in question. Basic guide to submitting omitted words is on the Add Words page.
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