Proverbs in African languages

Fragment of kanga with Swahili text “Haraka haraka haina baraka” (Hurry hurry has no blessing). (Source: Kanga Collection Textile Research Centre Leiden, Photo: Hans Splinter)To mark the Year of Indigenous Languages, the ASCL Library has compiled this web dossier on Proverbs in African languages. The dossier includes titles from the ASCL Library collection, extended with sources available through the broader Leiden University Library collection. Titles link to the corresponding record in the online catalogue, and include subject headings, abstracts, and links to full text, where available. The dossier is introduced by ASCL Library Information Specialist Heleen Smits and concludes with a selection of links to relevant websites.

Please use Firefox, Chrome or Safari for the best viewing experience of this web dossier.

Introduction

An estimated six to seven thousand languages are spoken in the world today. The great majority of the world’s population, about 97%, speaks only 4% of all languages, while the remaining 96% of languages is spoken by only 3% of the world’s population. Almost one third of the world’s languages is spoken in Africa.

Language diversity on the national level has often been associated with social and political problems. This stigma has strongly influenced the language policies of many African countries, to the disadvantage of indigenous languages. Recent insights, however, have shown that social and economic problems in contexts of ethnolinguistic diversity find their causes in the complexities of historical, political and socio-cultural factors rather than in the use of indigenous languages per se. Policies respecting linguistic and cultural diversity have the potential to resolve conflicts rather than creating them and can empower more people to contribute creatively to a country’s economy.¹

The International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019 celebrates the world’s language diversity and aims to contribute to the protection and strengthening of indigenous languages and their speech communities. Though the focus of the ASCL library’s collection is on works on Africa in Western languages, it does host African language materials. Proverbs have been collected and published for a long time, initially mostly by missionaries, anthropologists and linguists, later on increasingly by African academics and connoisseurs. As tokens of wisdom, cultural knowledge and high-level language competence, proverbs are held in high esteem in African societies, as are the people, often elderly, who know many and are able to apply them appropriately and convincingly.

The current web dossier offers a selection of books and articles containing African proverbs. It focuses on collections of proverbs rather than on studies of proverbs as a socio-cultural phenomenon. Works offering proverbs only in translation have not been included.

As a small side-step, the web dossier offers a section on the East African kanga, the colourful and much-loved two-piece cloth worn by women along the Swahili coast and further inland. The kanga typically carries a Swahili message, which can also be a proverb. The kanga on the accompanying photo has one that exists in many languages: Haraka haraka haina baraka “haste makes waste”!

Heleen Smits
 

Introduction | Selected titles | Wikidata Map | Selected web resources| Picture gallery

Selected titles

Languages of Central Africa | Languages of East Africa | Languages of Southeast and Southern Africa | Languages of West and Northern Africa

Languages of Central Africa

Bafut
Bafut proverbs / Zaccheus F. Ntumngia, Joseph N. Mfonyam. - Bafut: Bafut Language Organisation, 2004.

Basa
Proverbes b̳àsàa du Cameroun = Màn̳gèn ma b̳àsàa b̳a Kamèrûn / [Emmanuel Mbenda] ; préf. de Henri Marcel Bot b̳a Njock. - Paris: L'Harmattan, 2014.book cover "Proverbes b̳àsàa du Cameroun"

Beembe
Études Beembe (Congo) : esquisse linguistique, devinettes et proverbes / André Jacquot. - Paris: Orstom, 1981.

Bubi (Pove)
Les proverbes de la forêt chez les Pové du Gabon / Paulin Kialo. - Paris: L'Harmattan, 2013.

drum language
Zum Sprachgebrauch in den Sprichwörtern und in der Trommelsprache der Ewondo und der Búlu / von Klaus Piper.
In: Afrika und Übersee : Sprachen, Kulturen , Bd. 72, H. 1, p. 1-16 (1989).

Ewondo
Mille et un proverbes beti : mìnkàná bǝ́tí mìntèd àvóòm àì fùs : la société beti à travers ses proverbes / rec. par Théodore Tsala ; Jeanne-Françoise Vincent et Luc Bouquiaux (éds.) ; préf. de Philippe Laburthe-Tolra. - Paris: Selaf, 1985.

Ghomala
Le B-A BA de la pensée bamiléké : introduction au discours des peuples bamiléke / Leon Kamga. - Yaoundé, Cameroun: Afrédit, 2015.

Hunde
Proverbes et maximes des Bahunde : Migani / Daniel Kitsa Buunda Kafukulo. - Paris [etc.]: Harmattan, 1998.

Kongo
Litterature orale : contes et proverbes kongo / Nathalis Lembe Masiala. - Paris: Publibook, 2018.book cover "Litterature orale : contes et proverbes kongo"

Kongo
Panorama de la littérature orale du Loango : étude des proverbes / René Mavoungou Pambou ; préf. Auguste Miabéto Ladi. - Paris [etc.]: Paari, 2016.

Kongo
Bingana, ou, Le souffle des ancêtres : proverbes ou adages du Congo-Brazzaville / Bernard N'Kaloulou. - Paris: L'Harmattan, 2015.

Kongo
Le masque des mots : sous le toit de mon père / Patrice Joseph Lhoni ; trad. de 500 proverbes Kongo en français. - [Châtenay-Malabry]: Édition Acoria, 2014.

Kongo
Eloquência : manual de aprendizagem da eloquência através de provérbios Kikongo = Kinzonzi : malongi ma ntela a mambu muna yingana / Fernando Ndombele KidimaTadi ; trad. de Vuaituma Sebastião e Kiala Pierre ; pref. de Manzambi Vuvu Fernando ; rev. linguística Siona Casimiro. - Luanda: Mayamba, 2012.

Kongo
Kongo proverbs and the origins of Bantu wisdom / Mukumbuta Lisimba. - Libreville: International Centre for Bantu Civilisations, 1999.

Kongo
Droit coutumier africain : proverbes judiciaires kongo (Zai͏̈re) / André Ryckmans, C. Mwelanzambi Bakwa ; préf. de Louis-Vincent Thomas ; liminaire de Jacques Vanderlinden. - Paris [etc.]: L'Harmattan [etc.], 1992.

Kongo
Les proverbes anciens du Bas-Congo / par Rob. L. Wannyn. - Bruxelles: Éditions du Vieux Planquesaule, 1983.

Kundu
Sprichwörter der Kundu (Kamerun) / Johannes Ittmann. - Berlin: 1971.

Kwese
Un recueil de proverbes nsong (R.D. Congo, Bantu B85d) / Joseph Koni Muluwa & Koen Bostoen.
In: Annales aequatoria , no. 28, p. 497-553 : krt., tab (2007).
https://www.africamuseum.be/publication_docs/Koni%20Muluwa%20and%20Bosto...

Lega-Mwenga
Mutánga : la corde à proverbes des Lega du Kivu-Maniema (Congo) / Ngandu-Myango Malasi. - Gent: RECALL, Research Centre of African Languages and Literatures, 2000.

Lingala
Proverbes, paraboles et argot dans la chanson congolaise moderne / Dieudonné Iyeli Katamu. - Paris: L'Harmattan, 2010.

Lingala, Swahili
Les langages populaires et vision démocratique : la part du proverbe et du conte / André Yoka Lye Mudaba.
In: Congo-Afrique : économie, culture, vie sociale , année 47, no. 416, p. 423-431 (2007).

Luba-Kasai
Luba-Sprichwörter : Übers., erweit. und überarb. Ausg. einer anonymen Sammlung aus Zaire / Hans-Ingolf Weier. - Köln: Köppe, 1992.book cover "Le proverbe : forme, fonction et sens en pays tupuri"

Luba-Kasai
Comportement alimentaire en rapport avec le discours luba, kasai / Tshibwabwa M. et Elia Monongo.
In: Annales aequatoria , vol. 8, p. 59-75 (1987).

Luba-Kasai
Word and world : Luba thought and literature / Jacques A.Th. Theuws. - St. Augustin: Verlag des Anthropos-Instituts, 1983.

Luba-Kasai
Les proverbes des Baluba-Shankadi : Mwana Muluba mu "Kyondo" / Mfum-wa-Mangi Ngoy Kasongo Kata.
In: Problèmes sociaux zai͏̈rois : bulletin trimestriel du Centre d'Exécution des Programmes Sociaux et Économiques , no. 112/113, p. 3-29; no. 114/115, p. 3-35 (1976).

Mampruli
Mamprusi proverbs / par Xavier Plissart. - Tervuren: Koninklijk Museum voor Midden-Afrika, 1983.

Mbai
Proverbes et dictons Ngambayes-Tchad / Dingamtoudji Maikoubou. - Paris [etc.]: L'Harmattan, 2005.

Mongo
Proverbes mongo de Basankusu / Piet Korse. - Oosterbeek: Korse, 2005.

Mongo
Losáko : salutation solennelle des Nkundó / par G. Hulstaert. - Bruxelles: 1959.

Mongo
Proverbes Mongo / par G. Hulstaert. - Tervuren: Musée royal du Congo belge, 1958.

Mungaka
Traditions, tales and proverbs of the Bali-Nyonga / coll. and transl. by Johannes Stöckle. - Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, 1994.

Murum
Proverbes mùrùm du Tchad / par Antoine Berilengar. - [N'Djaména]: Editions SAO, 2002.

Ngbaka
Proverbes et devinettes ngbaka / V. Maes.
In: Africana linguistica , p. 51-64 (1967).

Pelende
Proverbes pelende : (Rép. du Zai͏̈re) / Matadiwamba Kamba Mutu. - Bandundu: Ceeba, 1996.

Punu
Proverbes et dictons des Punu du Gabon / Nza-Mateki. - Libreville: Editions Raponda-Walker, 2008.

Sãotomense
Zeme ba fotxi : fragmentos da tradição oral São-Tomense contos e provérbios / Angelson Coelho ; revisão, Naduska. - São Tomé: Centro Cultural Brasil / São Tomé e Príncipe, 2010.

Songe
Proverbes des Songye / P.R. Lumeka.
In: Africana linguistica III , p. 39-49 (1967).

Tabwa
Le proverbe taabwa / Kalunga Mwela-Ubi".
In: Africa : rivista trimestrale di studi e documentazione , vol. 35, no. 2, p. 191-216 (1980).

Tunen
Contes, proverbes et devinettes des Banen (Sud-Ouest du Cameroun) / Idelette Dugast. - Paris: Société d'Études Linguistiques et Anthropologiques de France, 1975.

Tupuri
Le proverbe : forme, fonction et sens en pays tupuri (Tchad-Cameroun) : la famille Adamawa-oubanguienne au rythme de la "langue de la danse" / Jean-Paul Balga ; préface d'Emmanuel Matateyou. - Paris: L'Harmattan, 2018.

Vili
1700 proverbes vili = Bi ngân bi loangu / Robert Tinou. - Paris: L'Harmattan, 2015.book cover "1700 proverbes vili"

Vili
Dire sans le dire : tchi luangu mueni : adages, anecdotes, dictons et proverbes d'Afrique noire / Fumu Bipe ; avec la. coll. de Francois Tchibouela-Poati et Valentin Poary-Pemba. - Paris: L'Harmattan, 2014.

Vili
Proverbes et contes vili : (République du Congo) / Jean Dello ; préf. de J.B. Tati Loutard. - Paris [etc.]: L'Harmattan, 2006.

Yaka
Proverbes de la sagesse yaka : Matsaba : traduits et annotés / Martial De-Paul Ikounga. - Paris: l'Harmattan, 2013.

Yaka
Proverbes yaka du Zai͏̈re / Alain Van der Beken. - Paris: Karthala, 1993.

Yaka
Proverbes et vie yaka / Alain Van der Beken. - S[ank]t Augustin: Anthropos-Institut, Haus Völker und Kulturen, 1978.

Languages of East Africa

Acholi
Acholi proverbs / Okot p'Bitek. - Nairobi: Heinemann Kenya, 1985.

Alaba
Máakut(i) t̕awá shuultáa = Proverbs finish the problems : sayings of the Alaaba (Ethiopia) / Gertrud Schneider-Blum (ed.). - Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, 2009.book cover "proverbs finish the problems"

Amharic
Traditional Ethiopian legal culture : Amharic proverbs and maxims on law and justice / Jon Abbink.
In: Studies in Ethiopian languages, literature, and history : festschrift for Getatchew Haile, presented by his friends and colleagues , p. 3-20 (2017).

Ganda
Pocketwoordenboek bananen Luganda-Nederlands / door de studenten van PRE-University College, onder begeleiding van Maarten Mous en Margaret Nabiyiki. - [Leiden]: Leiden University, 2019.

Ganda
Gendering social destiny in the proverbs of the Baganda: reflections on boys and girls becoming men and women / Abasi Kiyimba.
In: Journal of African cultural studies , vol. 17, no. 2, p. 253-270 (2005).

Ganda
"Okukkera Ngʾomuzungu", to talk nonsense like a whiteman : the use of proverbs in Luganda historical writing / by John A. Rowe. - Boston, MA: Boston University, African Studies Center, 1991.

Ganda
Luganda proverbs / F. Walser. - Berlin: Dietrich Reimer, 1982.

Haya
The powers of genre : interpreting Haya oral literature / Peter Seitel. - New York, NY [etc.]: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Hehe
Proverbs and sayings : theory and practice / J.S. Madumulla. - Dar es Salaam: Institute of Kiswahili Research, University of Dar es Salaam, 1995.

Kikuyu
Thimo cia Agĩkũyũ = Proverbs of the Kikuyu people / Kamau-Wango. - Nairobi: Flame Keepers, 2009.

Kikuyu
The wisdom and philosophy of the Gikuyu proverbs : the Kihooto world-view / Gerald Joseph Wanjohi. - Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 1997.

Kikuyu
The teaching of non-violence in Gikuyu proverbs / G.J. Wanjohi.
In: Journal of African religion and philosophy , vol. 2, no. 2, p. 3-9 : fig (1993).

Kikuyu
The Gikuyu philosophy of religion with reference to the proverbs / G.J. Wanjohi.
In: Journal of African religion and philosophy , vol. 2, no. 2, p. 165-172 (1993).

Kikuyu
1000 Kikuyu proverbs : with transl. and English equivalents / G. Barra. - London: Kenya Literature Bureau, 1960.

Kinyarwanda
Proverbes du Rwanda / par Pierre Crépeau et Simon Bizimana. - Tervuren: Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale, 1979.

Luo
Lwoo proverbs : Acoli & Lango / Bruno Carollo. - Kampala: Comboni Missionaries, 1998.

Marakwet
Oral literature of the Marakwet of Kenya / Paul Kipchumba. - Nairobi, Kenya: Kipchumba Foundation, 2016.book cover "Oral literature of the Marakwet of Kenya"

Meru
1200 Kimeru proverbs (including idiomatic expressions and similes) / by E. Steven Mwiti. - Nairobi: Downtown Printing, 2004.

Meru
The ideal of the good life : as crystallized by Tanzanian Meru proverbs / by Raimo Harjula. - Helsinki: The Finnish Oriental Society, 1997.

Nyankole
The proverbs of Kigezi and Ankole (Uganda) / Marius Cisternino. - Kampala [etc.]: Comboni Missionaries, 1987.

Oromo
Ethiopian wisdom : proverbs and sayings of the Oromo people / George Cotter. - Ibadan: Daystar Sefer Books, 1996.

Oromo
Proverbs and sayings of the Oromo people of Ethiopia and Kenya with English translations / George Cotter. - Lewiston, N.Y. [etc.]: Edwin Mellen Press, 1992.

Swahili
Swahili modern proverbs : the role of literary writers and social network users / Shani Omari.
In: Swahili Forum, vol. 23, p. 21-46 (2016).
http://ul.qucosa.de/api/qucosa%3A15396/attachment/ATT-0/

Swahili
Palm oil with which Swahili words are eaten : use of proverbs in modern Swahili literature / Elena Zubkova Bertoncini.
In: The growth of African literature : twenty-five years after Dakar and Fourah Bay / ed. by Edris Makward, Thelma Ravell-Pinto & Aliko Songolo. - Trenton, N.J. [etc] : Africa World Press , p. 11-21 (1998).

Swahili
Swahili proverbs / by Jan Knappert. - [Ndanda]: Ndanda Mission Press, 1997.

Swahili
Proverbs from the Lamu archipelago and the central Kenya coast / by Jan Knappert. - Berlin: Reimer, 1986.

Swahili
Swahili proverbs : Nia zikiwa moja, kilicho mbali huja / Albert Scheven. - Washington, D.C: University Press of America, 1981.

Swahili
Politics in Swahili proverbs / Albert Scheven.
In: Ufahamu : journal of the African Activist Association , vol. 8, no. 1, p. 95-105 (1977).

Swahili
Swahili proverb songs / Jan Knappert.
In: Afrika und Übersee : Sprachen, Kulturen , vol. 59, no. 2, p. 105-112 (1975).

Swahili
Swahili sayings from Zanzibar / S.S. Farsi. - Nairobi [etc.]: 1958.

Swahili
African aphorisms : or: saws from Swahili-land / coll., transl. and annot. by W.E. Taylor ; with a preface by W.S. Price. - London: The Sheldon press, 1924.

Swahili kanga
Common threads: fabrics made-in-India for Africa /  Meera Venkatachalam, Renu Modi, Johann Salazar. - Leiden: African Studies Centre, To appear.book cover "Kanga wisdom"

Swahili kanga
Textile trades, consumer cultures, and the material worlds of the Indian Ocean / Pedro Machado, Sarah Fee, Gwyn Campbell. - Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2018.

Swahili kanga
One size fits all: the fashionable kanga of Zanzibari women / Rose Ong'oa-Morara.
In: Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture, vol. 18, no. 1, p. 73-95 (2014).
http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.leidenuniv.nl:2048/ehost/pdfviewer/pd...

Swahili kanga
Overcoming the barriers through literal and descriptive translations: examples of kanga names / Pendo Salu Malangwa.
In: Journal for studies in humanities and social sciences , vol. 1, no. 1, p. 51-62 : foto's, tab (2012).

Swahili kanga
The kanga, a cloth that reveals co-production of culture in Africa and the Indian Ocean Region / Phyllis Ressler. - Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 2012.

Swahili kanga
Kanga wisdom : a collection of Kanga sayings / compiled by Nadin Hadi ; photographs by Javed Jafferji. - Zanzibar: Gallery Publications, 2007.

Swahili kanga
Say what you like: dress, identity and heritage in Zanzibar / Rosabelle Boswell.
In: International Journal of Heritage Studies, vol. 12, no. 5, pp. 440-457 (2006).

Swahili kanga
Texts on textiles: proverbiality as characteristic of equivocal communication at the East African coast (Swahili) / Rose Marie Beck.
In: Journal of African cultural studies , vol. 17, no. 2, p. 131-160 (2005).

Swahili kanga
Kanga, the cloth that speaks / by Sharifa M. Zawawi. - The Bronx, NY: Azaniya Hills Press, 2005.book cover "Kanga, the cloth that speaks"

Swahili kanga
Ambiguous signs: on communication with kanga / Rose-Marie Beck.
In: Swahili forum VIII : in honour of Gudrun Miehe, p. 157-169 (2001).

Swahili kanga
Aesthetics of communication: texts on textiles (leso) from the East African Coast (Swahili) / Rose-Marie Beck.
In: Research In African Literatures, vol. 31, no. 4, p. 104-124 (2000).
https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.leidenuniv.nl:2443/docview/207648175...

Swahili kanga
If the cap fits : 'kanga' names and women's voice in Swahili society / Saida Yahya-Othman.
In: Afrikanistische Arbeitspapiere : Schriftenreihe des Kölner Instituts für Afrikanistik , No. 51, p. 135-149 (1997).

Swahili kanga
The effects of Khanga inscription as a communication vehicle in Tanzania / C. Hongoke. - Dar es Salaam: Women's Research and Documentation Project (WRDP), 1993.

Swahili kanga
Kanga: popular cloths with messages / Elisabeth Linnebuhr.
In: Matatu : Zeitschrift für afrikanische Kultur und Gesellschaft , no. 9, p. 81-90 (1992).

Tugen
Tugen proverbs / David Ng'osos ; ill. Njeri Kahonge. - Nairobi: Phoenix Publishers, 1997.

Languages of Southeast and Southern Africa

Herero
Omiano vya Tjipangandjara : Otjiherero proverbs and idioms / Jekura Uaurika Kavari. - Windhoek: University of Namibia Press, 2013.

Kaonde
Kaonde proverbs / John C. Ganly ; [ill. with drawings by Jones Muna]. - Ndola: Mission Press, 1987.

Malagasy
Lamba hoany, proverb cloths from Madagascar / Rebecca L. Green.
In: African Arts, vol. 36, no. 2, p. 30-43 (2003).

Malagasy
Langages non conventionnels à Madagascar : argot des jeunes et proverbes gaillards / Clément Sambo. - Paris: Éditions Karthala [etc.], 2001.book cover "Langages non conventionnels à Madagascar"

Malagasy
Fahendrena malagasy : index des proverbes malgaches / O. Rickenbcher. - Paris: Institut des langues et civilisations orientales, 1987.

Malagasy
"Ny atao no miverina" : ou: ethnologie et proverbes malgaches / P.G. Navone. - Fianarantsoa: Ambozontany, 1977.

Ndebele
Ndebele proverbs and other sayings / By J.N. Pelling. - Gwelo: Mambo Press, 1977.

Northern Sotho
Sepedi proverbs / Nape'a Motana ; ill. by Garth Erasmus. - Cape Town: Kwela, 2004.

Nyaneka
Provérbios em Nyaneka / [António Joaquim Silva]. - [S.l.: s.n.], 1989.

Nyanja
Chinyanja and the language of rights / Harri Englund.
In: Nordic journal of African studies , vol. 10, no. 3, p. 299-319 (2001).

Nyanja
Wisdom of the people : 2000 Chinyanja proverbs / J.C. Chakanza ; [ill.: Samson Kambalu]. - Blantyre: Claim, 2000.

Shona
Individual agency and responsibility in African proverbial discourse / Alex Pongweni.
In: Journal for studies in humanities and social sciences , vol. 5, no. 2, p. 152-171 (2016).

Shona
Implications of the portrayal of women in Shona proverbs for gender sensitive teaching and learning of ChiShona / Beatrice Taringa.
In: Zimbabwe journal of educational research , vol. 26, no. 3, p. 395-408 (2014).

Shona
Shona proverbs : palm oil with which African words are eaten / compiling editors, Ngwabi Bhebe [and] Advice Viriri. - Gweru: Booklove Publishers, 2012.

Shona
Epistemological implications of selected Shona proverbs / Ephraim Gwaravanda, Dennis Masaka. - Cape Town: Casas, 2008.book cover "Shona proverbs"

Shona
Metaphors of our times : the oral interrogations of sociocultural continuities and raptures / Alec J.C. Pongweni & Emmanuel M. Chiwome. - Cape Town: The Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society, 2007.

Shona
Language as indigenous knowledge / Shumirai Nyota, Jacob Mapara. - Cape Town: Casas, 2007.

Shona
Tsumo-Shumo : Shona proverbial lore and wisdom / introduced, translated, and explained by Mordikai A. Hamutyinei and Albert B. Plangger. - Gweru: Mambo Press, 1996.

Sotho
Imagery in Southern-Sotho proverbs and riddles / Malema Mary Motebele. - [Johannesburg]: 1997.

Tswana
Perceptions, contexts, uses and meanings of silence in Setswana / Mompoloki Mmangaka Bagwasi.
In: Journal of African cultural studies , vol. 24, no. 2, p. 184-194 (2012).

Tswana
African wisdom : a personal collection of Setswana proverbs / Ellen K. Kuzwayo. - Roggebaai: Kwela Books, 1998.

Umbundu
Sabedoria popular dos Ovimbundu : 630 provérbios em Umbundu / Basílio Tchikale. - Luanda: Kilombelombe, 2011.

Umbundu
Selecção de provérbios e adivinhas em Umbundu / por José Francisco Valente. - Lisboa: Junta de investigações do Ultramar, 1964.

Xhosa
Xhosa proverbs and metaphors / Zolile Calana ; [ill. by] Patrick Holo. - Capetown: Kwela Books, 2002.

Yao
Wisdom of the Yawo people, Lunda Iwa Wanda wa Ciyawo : Yawo proverbs and stories, Yitagu ni Adisi sya Ciyawo / Ian D. Dicks. - Zomba: Kachere Series, 2006.

Zulu
Zulu proverbs / C.L. Sibusiso Nyembezi. - Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press, 1974.

Languages of West and Northern Africa

Adangme
Dangme and Klama proverbs / coll. and transl. [from the Klama] by T.N.N. Accam ; ed. with an annot. ind. by M.E. Kropp Dakubu. - Legon: Institute of African Studies, 1972.

Bambara
Sagesse bambara : proverbes et sentences / Père Charles Bailleul. - Bamako: Donniya, 2005.

Bambara
Sentences et proverbes bamanan (expliqués en bamanan et en français) / El Hadj Sadia Traoré. - Bamako: Editions Jamana, 1995.book cover "Temne names and proverbs"

Bambara
Proverbes et contes bambara : accompagnés d'une traduction française et précédés d'un abrégé de droit coutumier bambara et malinké / par Moussa Travélé. - Paris: Paul Geuthner, 1977.

Baoulé
Les Baoules d'après leurs dictions et proverbes / Cyprien Arbelbide. - [Abidjan]: Ceda, 1975.

Baoulé
Trente dictons baoulés / P. Vogler.
In: Annales de l'Université d'Abidjan , vol. 1, no. 1, p. 46-49 (1968).

Buli
Rhymes in Buli proverbs, songs and poems / Franz Kröger.
In: Research review , n.s., vol. 25, no. 1, p. 43-50 (2009).

Dagari
Dàgàrà-yèrbíé ou proverbes dagara or dagara proverbs : théorie sur la circulation des textes des langues à tradition orale en Afrique Noire et application des méthodes phonologiques de transcription / Penou-Achille Somé, Claude Bouygues. - Paris: L'Harmattan, 1992.

Dagbani
Dagbani proverbs = Dagban' naha / by Kofi Ron Lange. - Tamale: Kofi Ron Lange, 2006.

Etsako
Afenmai proverbs / collected, transl. and annot. by Zakariyau Idrees-Oboh Oseni. - Auchi: Darun-Nur, 2003.

Fulfulde
La transmission culturelle : l'exemple du peul / sous la dir. de Ursula Baumgardt et Abdourahmane Diallo (éds.). - Paris: Karthala, 2014.

Fulfulde
Devinettes peules : suivies de quelques proverbes et exemples d'argots (Nord-Cameroun) / J.P. Lebeuf et P.F. Lacroix. - Paris [etc.]: 1972.

Fulfulde
Proverbes et maximes peuls et toucouleurs / trad., exp. et ann. par Henri Gaden. - Paris: 1931.

Gagu
Gbaan mɔ fiedoalenu / coordonnateur: Taki Oya Robert ; Illustrations: Selly Essis Maxime Alphonse. - Abidjan: Edilis, 2008.

Gonja
Sprichwörter der Guang von Boso und Anum in Ghana (Guang-studien V) / E.L. Rapp.
In: Afrikanische Sprachen und Kulturen; ein Querschnitt / hrsg. von V. Six, N. Cyffer, E. Wolff, u.a. , p. 305-316 (1971).

Hausa, Igbo, Ivbie North-Okpela-Arhe, Yoruba
Proverbs as iconic and indexical markers of culture : exploration of proverbs of four Nigerian cultures / Alexandra llzoaku Esimaje, Richard Abekhe Mosagbor, Chukwuma Daniel Ezirim.
In: Okike : an African journal of new writing , no. 51, p. 255-271 : tab (2014).book cover "Yoruba proverbs"

Igbo
Ilu Ndi Igbo : a study of Igbo proverbs / Solomon Amadiume. - Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishing, 1994.

Ijo
Noin nẹngịa, ḅẹrẹ nẹngịa : Nembe n'akaḅụ = More days, more wisdom : Nembe proverbs / E.J. Alagoa. - Port Harcourt: University of Port Harcourt Press, 1986.

Kabiye
Adages et mythes porteurs du genre en Kabiye. - Togo: INADES-Formation, 2000.

Kabyle
Innan in Teqbaylit = Paroles kabyles / textes choisis par Samia Messaoudi et Mustapha Harzoune ; préf. de: Idir. - Alger: Casbah éditions, 2015.

Kabyle
Énigmes et joutes oratoires de Kabylie : commentaire linguistique et ethnographique / Youcef Allioui. - Paris [etc.]: L'Harmattan, 2005.

Kanuri
Kanuri proverbs: metaphoric conceptualization of a cultural discourse / Mohammed Laminu Mele.
In: Journal of African cultural studies , vol. 25, no. 3, p. 333-348 : tab (2013).

Kasem
An introduction to Kasena society and culture through their proverbs / A.K. Awedoba. - Lanham, Md. [etc.]: University Press of America, 2000.book cover "An introduction to Kasena society"

Mandinka
Proverbes malinké : à l'ombre des grands fromagers / proverbes rec. et trad. [du malinké] par Gérard Meyer avec la collab. de Jean-Raphae͏̈l Camara et de Fonsa Camara. - Paris: Conseil International de la Langue Française Edicef, 1985.

Mandinka
Mandinka dilemma stories, puzzles, riddles and proverbs : (Mandinka texts and translations) / [coll. and transl.] by David P. Gamble. - San Francisco: [D.P. Gamble], 1977.

Mandinka
Diæli : le livre de la sagesse noire / André Demaison ; [ornementation dess. par Pierre Courtois]. - Paris: Piazza, 1931.

Mòoré
Proverbes du Moogo : le mur du soir se pose sur le mur du matin : pour construire le futur, on part du passé / Wendinminté Ouedraogo. - [Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso]: EAN éditions développement, 2014.

Nzima
Nzema mrelebule = Nzema proverbs / George B. Kwesi ; ed. and with a new introd. by Mariano Pavanello. - Legon: Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, 2007.

Songhai, Zarma
Anthologie de la littérature orale Songhay-Zarma : saveurs sahéliennes / Fatimata Mounkaila. - Paris: L'Harmattan, 2008.

Timne
Temne names and proverbs / collec. by Abou Bai-Sharka. - Freetown: People's Educational Association of Sierra Leone, 1986.

Tuareg
Proverbes, sentences, maximes en touareg (berbère méridional) / par Mohamed Aghali-Zakara.
In: Études et documents berbères, no. 22, p. 119-139 (2004).

Tuareg
Littérature orale touarègue : contes et proverbes / [rassemblés par] Nai͏̈ma Louali-Raynal, Nadine Decourt et Ramada Elghamis. - Paris [etc.]: L'Harmattan, 1997.

Yoruba
Yorùbá proverbs and musicality / Michael Olutayo Olatunji.
In: Legon journal of the humanities , vol. 23, p. 125-140 (2012).

Yoruba
Playful blasphemies : postproverbials as archetypes of modernity in Yorùbá culture / Aderemi Raji-Oyelade. - Trier: WVT, Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2012.

Yoruba
An analytical study of Yoruba proverbs of Islamic origin / S.A. Shittu.
In: Journal of Oriental and African studies , vol. 20, p. 145-157 (2011).

Yoruba
English-translated Yoruba proverbs associated with women : need for gender equality / A.A. Asiyanbola.
In: África : revista do Centro de Estudos Africanos, número 24-26, 247-264 (2009).
http://www.revistas.usp.br/africa/article/view/74288/77931

Yoruba, Tswana
Language, gender and politics : a festschrift for Yisa Kehinde Yusuf / ed. by Akin Odebunmi, Arua E. Arua, Sailal Arimi. - Lagos: Published for Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) by Concept Publications, 2009.

Yoruba
Yoruba proverbs / Oyekan Owomoyela. - Lincoln [etc.]: University of Nebraska Press, 2008.book cover "Dire la santé avec des proverbes"

Yoruba
A Kì í : Yorùbá proscriptive and prescriptive proverbs / Oyekan Owomoyela. - Lanham, Md. [etc.]: University Press of America, 1988.

Yoruba
Yoruba proverbs : translation and annotation / by Bernth Lindfors and Oyekan Owomoyela. - [Athens: Ohio University Center for International Studies, Africa Program, 1973.

Yoruba
Òwe l'ẹṣin ọrọ : Yoruba proverbs : their meaning and usage / Isaac O. Delano. - Ibadan: Oxford University Press, 1966.

Zarma
Dire la santé avec des proverbes : proverbes zarma-songay du Niger : essai / Yves Bernard ; préf. de Maga-Mazou Areynatou. - Paris: L'Harmattan, 2007.

Zarma
L'essence du verbe / Boubou Hama. - Niamey: Celhto, 1988.

Wikidata Map

Each red dot on the map indicates geolocated topics co-occurring with African proverbs as main subjects. The presentation is restricted to African languages. If you click on a dot, a window pops up offering a link to an English Wikipedia article (if it exists) and a link to publications on the subject in the ASCL catalogue. For your viewing pleasure, zoom in and you will discover, among other things, publications on Yoruba songs and Bulsa folk tales.

Click on plus and minus to zoom. To move the map, click and hold your mouse, then drag the map by moving your mouse.

Web resources

Proverbs

Afriprov.org
A site with information on African proverbs, sayings and stories including a bibliography.
https://www.afriprov.org/

De Proverbio
A website devoted to proverbs in several languages founded in January 1995 at the University of Tasmania, Australia.
https://deproverbio.com/ 
 
Kangas

Kanga Collection of the British Museum
https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?sea...

Kanga Collection of the Memory of the Netherlands
The collection includes kangas produced by Vlisco in the 1920s and 1930s.
https://www.geheugenvannederland.nl/nl/geheugen/results?query=khanga&pag...

Kanga Collection Modemuze
https://www.modemuze.nl/zoeken?trefwoord=kanga&van=All&tot=All

Kanga as a form of visual communication
Post by Ziddi Msangi on the website of the VCFA.
https://perpetualbeta.vcfa.edu/2015/01/30/kanga-as-a-form-of-visual-comm...

African textiles today
Post on the website Digital Wax Print.
http://digitalwaxprint.com/iterations/african-textiles-today/

Swahili language and culture
Website including a page on the texts appearing on a kanga.
http://www.glcom.com/hassan/kanga.html

Picture gallery: kangas from the collection of the TRC Leiden

Photographer: Hans Splinter

Fragment of kanga with Swahili text “Siri ya maisha ni ujasiri” (The secret of life is courage). Fragment of kanga with Swahili text "Akili ni mali" (Intelligence is wealth). (Source: Kanga Collection Textile Research Centre Leiden, Photo: Hans Splinter)

 Fragment of kanga with Swahili text “Asemae hajapata aliyepata hasemi” (The one who speaks has not got anything yet, the one who has got it does not say anything). Fragment of kanga with Malagasy text “Tsara doany manonga arivo”.

Fragment of kanga with Swahili text “Umsafiaye nia moyoni ana mawazo”(You think you've got a good heart, but you're still having [negative] thoughts) Fragment of kanga with Swahili text “Kila upatacho mshukuru mungu” (Thank God for everything you get).

 Fragment of kanga from Kenya. With Swahili text: “Tunapenda Africa yetu” (We love our Africa). Fragment of kanga from Tanzania. With Swahili texts: “Upendo na amani ametujalia Mungu” and “Hongera Barack Obama” (Love and peace have been granted us by God, and Congratulations Barack Obama).