There is no adequate defense, except stupidity, against the impact of a new idea. Bridgman Jump to: navigation , search Proverbs of the Kikuyu people This article needs cleanup. Please review Quotes:Templates to determine how to edit this article to conform to a higher standard of article quality. This page has been listed as needing cleanup since Mwenda uthaka ndacayaga. Translation: One who would beauty does not flinch.

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Agikuyu moi kuhitha ndia, matiui kuhitha uhoro The Kikuyu know how to conceal their quiver, but do not know how to conceal their secrets. The Kikuyu, though very clever in concealing their arms, cannot keep secrets from the members of their tribe. Ageni eri matiri utugire Two guests at the same time have no welcome. Ageni eri na karirui kao Two guests love a different song.

When you receive two visitors at the same time, you cannot treat them in the same manner, because they have different tastes. Every man has his hobby horse.

Much wants more 5. Aka matiri cia ndiiro no cia nyiniko Women have no upright words, but only crooked ones The Kikuyu use the proverb to say that women keep no secrets and seldom tell the truth. Women conceal all that they know not 7. A woman is to be from her house three times: when she is christened, married, and burried.

Andu matari ndundu mahuragwo na njuguma imwe People who have not secret agreement are beaten by a single club. A group of men not bound by a secret will be easily beaten by a single man Lack of union spells weakness Andu matiui ngamini Men do not know liberality One does not give without hope of return Andu matiui ngu, moi ithendu Me do not know hard firewood, but only lops people put aside hard tasks and devote themselves only to easy ones.

Andu me muoyo matiagaga wira Live men do not lack work Life would be too smooth if it had no rubs in it. Arume mari rwamba Do not annoy others because they will respond by hurting Do evil and look for like Bata ndubatabataga He that will have no trouble in this world must not be born in it.

Cia athuri inyuagira thutha The elders drink afterwards i. Ciakorire wacu mugunda The food found Wacu in the field. The proverb originates in the legend of Wacu, the most despised amongst the wives of a rich man who never gave her any presents.

One day, when a banquet was being held at home, she went to work in the field, since she knew there would be nothing for her at home. In the middle of the banquet a raven swooped down in the courtyard where the meat was being roasted, snatched a big piece and brought it to Wacu. The Kikuyu use the proverb to say that God takes care of His poor. Cia kionje itigayagwo gitanakua The property of a helpless man must nit be divided before his death The reason is that he is unable to get anything more than he already possesses.

Cia mucii itiumaga ndira Home affairs must not go into the open Do not wash dirty linen in public Cia mucii ti Home affairs cannot be told to the public Do not wash dirty linen in public Ciathanaga ikigua, itiathanaga ikiumbuka Birds agree when flying down, but do not agree when flying up. The proverb means that it is easy for a swarm of birds to alight together, while it is difficult to get up together since after eating their fill they will fly up separately.

Morally the proverb means that men easily agree when deciding on an enterprise, but will probably quarrel as soon as they have obtained what they want. Cia thuguri itiyuraga ikumbi Bought things do not fill the granary Do not hope to become rich without cultivating your fields If thou hast not a capon, feed on an onion Cia uthoni ciambaga nguhi The buying of a wife begins from a little thing Great events have small beginnings Ciigwatagirira mareru Goats fall that take hold of lichens Lichens are not strong enough to prevent a goat from falling.

The proverb means that unsatisfactory excuses are insufficient defence Cionje ikumi irugitwo ni umwe uri na hinya Ten helpless people were surpassed by a single strong person One strong person is better than ten helpless ones One grain of pepper is worth a cartload of hail Cira munene ni ukia A long lawsuit breeds poverty Fools and obstinate men make lawyers rich Cira munene ni wa uthoni igikua The breaking of a betrothal is no small matter.

Starting from the day of the betrothal the price is paid gradually. Evidently it is no simple matter if the would-be husband breaks his contract and demands the return of the marrieage price.

Cira wa kirimu utindaga kiharo The lawsuit of a fool keeps the court sitting all day The lawsuit of a fool never comes to an end Cira wa mucii ndumagirio kiharo Home affairs are not to be carried on in the public squuare Do not wash dirty linen in public Cira wothe wambagiririo na nda Every case begins from the stomach The Kikuyu have an ox or a goat killed, roasted and distributed to judges at the beginning of every case.

Familiarly they use the proverb to say that one of the most important jobs of life is to provide something to eat An empty belly hears nobody Ciunagwo rukomo, kimenyi akamenya ikiunwo We speak byh proverb: he who is intelligent will understand Intelligenti pauca Gakiibatha ni koi ni karithoitha He who spends his time adorning himself knows he is going to a dance There is a reason for everything Gakiihotora niko koi uria kariina He who adorns himself knows to what sort of dance he is going There is a reason for everything Gakunywo kagira thooko The fool takes many people with him It is said of people who, when invited to a feast, instead of going alone, take others with them A fool cannot bear his own company.

Garurira mbeu ti ya kinya kimwe Change seeds taking them from different calabashes It is good to introduce new blood. Gatitu ka muimwo ni iri noko kari miti The forest of an unpleasant ill-liked person is the one that has trees The proverb means that evil-doers often do prosper Gatitu ka ngoro gatiunagwo The grove of the hear is not laid open Gatinyinyiraga gatari gakunye Nobody cries that has not been pinched No smoke without fire Darkness caused to dance even him who cannot All cats are the same in colour at night Gatundu koragithirie Watatua A secret agreement enabled people to kill Watatua Watatua was a powerful Chief, invincible in open combat, who was killed at night by a few men Secret union means strength.

Giathi githaragio ni gaka kamwe A market can be spoilt by one woman One cloud is enough to eclipse the sun Giathi kiri murugirwo Every feast has ists guest of honour Giathi kiriagwo ni kingi One appointment is eatedn by another Today kills yesterday.

Giathi kiumu no kia murokero That of circumcision is a hard appointment The Kikuyu circumcision is a civil and religious rite by which the adolescent is admitted into the public life of the tribe and becomes a man in the full possession of his rights. The ceremony is physically painful, but the candidate is expected to face the operation without wincing. There are not gains without pains. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Gicigo kia mugunda gitinyihaga A piece of land is not a little thing The proverb means that however small the field you possess, it has its importance if you work it A little house well filled, a little land well tilled, a little wife well willed are great riches.

Giikaro kimwe kiri ngee kana ndaa By staying always in the same place one gets lice. The world is a great book, of which they that never stir from home read only one page. It is believed that the older the fruit, the greater it is fermenting power. The proverb means that there are only few things that improve with age.

Githaka gitigunaga mumi, kigunaga muki The land enriches not people who clear it, but people who come when it is already cleared One beats the bush, and another catches the bird. Githumba gitiri murimu wa ngoro Beggars have no worries.

Githuri kiri mwatu wa ngotoko The chest contains a beehive full of pride. The proverb means that proud people have always in store lots of reasons justifying their wickedness. Gitiganiriro kirugitwo ni kirugamanio Talking something over is better than leaving it pending. Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today. Gitiiro kia muka wene gitikagio athii The song of a stranger-woman is answered after she has gone.

The proverb is metaphorically used to mean that foreigners, especially women, are not to be trusted too much. Eat a peek of salt with a man before you trust him. Gitindo kia mucii ni kiuru It is bad to stay at home.

He that stays in the valley shall never get over the hill. A man forewarned is forearmed. Gitoi kiraragia kiui njira He who does not know the road delays also one that knows it. Who goes with a fool becomes a fool. The proverb refers to the fact that if a rich man has left a piece of his land to a poor man on which to build his hut, very often he wants it back as soon as the soil under the hut has been enriched by the dropping of the animals.

Rich people sometimes eat badfood. All is not gold that glitters. Guceera ni kuhiga Travelling is learning. The world is a great book, of which they that never stir read only one page.

Gucekeha ti guicuhio To be slim does not mean having been pared. Do not scorn little things. Guciara kunaga irigu ngingo The woman who gives birth to a child is like the banana tree that breaks under the weight of its fruit.

Maternity means pain to the mother. Gucukagwo utaguteo People slander somebody even if they do not despise him. Gukiara na gutonga ititiganaga Riches and poverty do not leave each other. Not to talk is to hate. One keeps silence with people one does not like. Gukiririria kwagira kieha Gukura ni kuuru: ngathii uriri ngicayaga It is bad to get old, for one goes to bed grumbling.

Old sacks want much patching. Gukuhiriria mbaara tikuo kurua The fact that you have gone near the battle-field does not mean that you fought. Gukungagwo utuku ti muthenya Thieves conceal themselves in the night not in the day. The night is a cloak for sinners. Guota mwaki ni gucera To get the warmth of fire one must stir the embers. No gains without pains.


Tag: 1000 Kikuyu proverbs

It means literally, Hail Mother with all her warts and dirt. Due to their being translated by foreigners to the culture, although diligent scholars, the translations were sometimes not very accurate. This is not a big disadvantage for each proverb is like a cut diamond, with very many facets and ways of interpretation. They comprise what Professor Wanjohi G. The Kikuyu Proverbs by G. I am glad to offer this selection of Kikuyu proverbs to the young Akikuyu, makers of the future of the tribe. The proverbs are the quintessence of Kikuyu eloquence, and represented for centuries the code of tribal laws used for lack of written books.


1,000 Kikuyu proverbs : with translations and English equivalents

Agikuyu moi kuhitha ndia, matiui kuhitha uhoro The Kikuyu know how to conceal their quiver, but do not know how to conceal their secrets. The Kikuyu, though very clever in concealing their arms, cannot keep secrets from the members of their tribe. Ageni eri matiri utugire Two guests at the same time have no welcome. Ageni eri na karirui kao Two guests love a different song.

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