Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture

If you like honey, fear not the bees. -African Proverb

Friday, September 15, 2017

Shhhh... Listen! Do You Hear The Elders Speaking To You?

Shhhh... Listen! Do You Hear The Elders Speaking To You?

African Elders

There are many proverbs that speak about the value of elders in the African society, are you listening to what they say?

Shhhh... Listen! Do You Hear The Elders Speaking To You?


Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture




In Africa, proverbs are not usually attributed to any particular individuals, but collectively to the ancestors, the wise men and women of old. In most cases, it is not known who composed a particular proverb. But whether known or not, all proverbs are credited to the elders of old. African proverbs contain observations and good counsel against undesirable wickedness like anger, backbiting, greed, ingratitude, laziness, lying, pride, procrastination, and selfishness. African proverbs usually have two meanings: the literal or primary meaning, and the deeper or real meaning. The real meaning of African proverbs is not always apparent.

Hover over the pics below to reveal Elders speaking African Proverbs.

The young have more to learn from the old than the other way around.


African Elder
The Elder is unable to fight, but he has a rich experience for struggles.

Experience makes us wise.


African Elder
A climbing plant with tendrils cannot grow on its own without the support of a tree.

Elders are a treasure trove of knowledge.


African Elder
Patience leads to an honorable position.



14 Addtional Elders Speaking To You African Proverbs


What will small birds overlook, the bigger ones will carry.

Houses which do not welcome advice caught fire while people were watching.

When the hen starts to sleep in the bush, it has turned to be cunning.

Holes in the house are known by the owner of the house.

Even what is salty is thrown away.

The stick which reaches the bone does not reach the behaviour.

When you refuse to listen because of fear of vultures, then you prepare hunger for your own people.

Those who do not bring back the goats when they are close will be found crying.

The elder who does not teach you gives you his failures.

Mountains do not meet.

You do not throw away the hen with what it cried out.

The shoulder is not higher than the neck.

Truth crosses fire without getting burnt.

The one who refuses to eat meat from the head piece, let him look what he owns.


Did you know?
Those who are thought to be dying are the old, but those who actually die are the young, the meaning of the proverb is to bring out the reality of human nature by explaining that just because you are young in age does not mean a long life is promised. We should therefore not be quick to judge elders as having one foot in the grave without consideration. This particular proverb was used on the daily basis to warn reckless young people to change their bad behavior.

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The eye never forgets what the heart has seen - African Proverb

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