Zulu Proverbs from the heart of Zululand
Zulu Proverbs #1
Zulu proverbs have many links to English sayings and proverbs.
Ingwe ikhontha amabala ayo amlhlope namnyama.
Translation: “The leopard licks both its black and white spots”.
In Zulu culture this implies that justice should be dealt with fairly by all those in positions of leadership and authority.
Zulu Proverbs #2
Impungushe kayivalelwq nezmvu
Translation: “The jackal is not kept on the same kraal with the sheep”.
A warning or caution that is not too clever or wise to put things or people that should be separated. A similar saying in English would be “don’t add fuel to fire” or “birds of a feather stick together”.
Zulu Proverbs #3
Nala kungekho qhude liyasa.
Translation: “Even when the rooster is not present, day dawns”.
When a person thinks they are so important nothing else matters or exists, someone with a narcissistic approach to life. In English we say “no man is an island” or “6 feet of earth make all men equal”.
Zulu Proverbs #4
Translation: “He has a beetle in his head”.
No, it is not someone with a hangover and might think the feeling is like a VW parked in their skull. The expression is for someone who behaves strangely. In simple language the person is nuts or “Mad as a hatter”.
Zulu Proverbs #5
Akunyoka yakhohlwa ngumgodi waya.
Translation: “There is no snake that forgets its home”.
There are no sinister attributes to this saying because the subject matter is a snake. A similar proverb in English is “East or West home is best” and “home is where the heart is”.
Zulu Proverbs #6
Ikhiwane elihle ligcwala izibungu.
Translation: “The nice fig is often full of worms”.
This proverb cautions us that the external attractive characteristics of something or someone is not always a good indication of its true nature. In English we say “Don’t judge a book by its cover” and the well-known “all that glitters is not gold”.