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Hausa Proverbs

June 26, 2013


Hausa Proverbs

A buggi karfe da saura’n zafi, in ya fuche sai a wahalla – Strike while the iron is hot, you will suffer if you allow it to get cold. (Do not lose an opportunity when it is ripe. Taking right decisions at the right time is crucial else you lose the chance which you may not regain).

A dade a nayi saikaskiya, karya fure take bata yaya – Truth last longer while falsehood doesn’t last long. (It is used in case of proven how truthful a person is).

A yi, a gamma, ta fi takamma, gobe a koma – To do, to finish, is better than “don’t care, come back tomorrow.” (Takamma, swagger : it comes to mean here not to work hard so as to show independence and disregard for authority. Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day).

Asa zuchia ta chi, shi ya kawo ji’n yungwa – To make the heart eat is to bring a feeling of hunger. (Wishing for a thing makes one feel the want of it).

Ba a hada gudu da susar katara – It is impossible to race more than your speed.

Ba a shan zuma sai an shah harbi – Success comes after tears. (This is all about telling people that nothing comes easy. If you want to achieve anything, you have to work hard).

Ba domin tsawo akanga wata ba – The moon is not seen because of great stature. (It is by no merit of yours that you have done that. Any one can do it).

Babu nesa ga Allah – There is no such thing as distance where God is concerned.

Barewa tayi gudu danta yayi rarrafe – Like father like son.
Da wasa ake fadawa wawa magana – A word is enough for the wise.
Dan’uwa rabin jiki – Blood is thicker than water.
En chi dadi da yawa en wohalla, gara en chi babu dadi wonda ni ke koshi – Better to eat something not tasty which is enough, than to eat something tasty which upsets me. (Enough is as good as a feast).
Fawa biu tana bata hankali’n kuda – Two pieces of meat confuse the mind of the fly. (To hesitate between two things, two courses).
Ganni ya fi ji – Seeing is better than hearing. (To be able to say that you have seen a thing with your own eyes is better than only to know by hearsay).
Gurgu ba shi koiya gurgu taffia – The blind leading the blind.
Hakki da ka rena slii kan soni maka ido – The grass which you disregard will injure your eye. (Don’t forget to take all precautions. No man or thing is too insignificant to be altogether disregarded).
Idan gamba tana da dadi a nono, nono ma yana da dadi a wuri’n gamba – If gamba is pleasant (to drink) with sour milk, sour milk is pleasant to drink with gamba. (Gamba, the flour of the millet, to which water has been added. If he likes me, I like him. If he agrees, I do).
Idan rua ya zubar, ya ber tulu, ya yi keau – Even if the water is spilt, as long as the tulu is not broken, no harm. (Tulu, the jar used for carrying water from the well or stream ; it has a small mouth. Different districts have different patterns. Don’t cry over spilt milk. That can be remedied).
In rana ta fito tafin hannu ba ya kare ta – If the sun rises, the palm cannot block its rays. (When problems arise the only solution is to face them because it cant be stopped).
Kadda gammu ya birkitchi maidemmi – Don’t let the gammu upset the carrier of a bundle of corn. (Don’t let the gammu become so big that it even-
tually gets bigger than the load that is being carried. Don’t keep on giving things away until you become the poor man and the man to whom you give the rich one. Don’t keep on giving your subordinates more and more
power until at length they are more powerful than you are. Gammu, the pad the carrier puts between his head and his load. It is usually a small cushion stuffed with chaff or cotton, sometimes merely twisted grass).
Kadda ya yi cbikki, ya haifu wuya – Don’t let him conceive and bring forth trouble. (Don’t do something that you will be sorry for afterwards).

Kango’n Allah maiwuya’n tuk-yewa – The place which Allah has made a kango is hard to fill. (Kango, any place which has at one time been in-
habited, but is now deserted. An unlucky man will always be unlucky).

Komai nisan jifa kasa zai fado – Whatever goes up must come down.
Komi ya ke chikkin dan kaza, shafu ya deddi da sanninslii – Whatever there is inside a chicken the hawk has been familiar with it for a very long time. (There is not much that you can teach me about that).
Mai abu kan san barra – A man with wealth will always get a servant.
Mai nama shi ke neman wuta – The man with the meat is the same one who seeks fire. (Fire is considered as primary tool to cook the meat. It is of no use for a man without meat. This age-old proverb teaches us the importance of prioritizing our tasks. If we seek fire first before we get the meat, the fire is of no use. Also, the man who is with the meat has to find his own means of cooking it too).
Makafo ya rassa ido, ya che ido na wari – The blind man lacks eyes, he says eyes stink. (Sour grapes. It is like an envious behaviour, especially pretending to not care for something one does not or cannot have. It can also mean that you can have self-confidence when all the chips are down).
Mugu yasan makwantar mugu – Set a theif to catch a thief.
Ruwa ba ta tsami banza – Water does not get sour without a cause. (Anything that happens has a reason. There is nothing which happens without a reason. Water, by nature is considered to be pure and drinkable. If it is getting sour, it definately means there is some cause or reason for which it is sour).
Na dumka riga babu wuya, Avonda ya yanka wuva shi sa ma kainshi – I have sewn a riga without a neck, let him who cuts a neck for it put it on. (The riga is a shirt with a hole at the top for the head to be put through : if made without this wuya or neck, one would have to be cut before the riga could be put on. If the cap fits put it on).
Rama ba mutua ba – Being thin is not dying. (Appearances are deceptive).
Rijia ta bayes, gugaa ta lianna – The well gives, but the bucket refuses.
(The great man orders a distribution of food, money, &c., but his agent does not issue it. Might be used when an official, who is dependent on an interpreter, gives an order ; meaning ” he may give an order, but I doubt whether it will be carried out”).
Rua ba su yami banza – Water does not get bitter without a cause. (There is reason for everything).
Sai an kula kashi yake doyi (wari) – Silent is the best answer to a fool.

Sai anbatta akan nemi mashiggi – One only seeks a guide when one has lost the road.

Tilas ba ta rassa daki’n kwana – Compulsion does not lack a house to sleep in. (Necessity knows no law).

Waja’n suka’n doki ba waja’n suka’n jirigi ba – A horse at full speed is a very different thing to a boat at full speed. (You cannot compare the two). 

Wanda ya raina tsayuwar wata to ya hau ya gyara – If you always oppose on peoples attitude or progress, then why not correct it. (It simply means that if a person always opposed on things he is not even capable of then let him do it if he can).

Ya zamma wandu dei dei da gatto’n kowa – He is (a pair) of trousers that fit every one’s thighs. (He is so powerful that every one fears him).

Yawa shi kan sa zarre ya ja duchi – Quantity makes the cotton draw a stone. (Unity is strength).

Zamma dubara, ta ii karifi – Stratagem is better than brute force.

Zaman duniya iyawa ne – An expert driver can also last long.


The proverbs are taken from the following links:

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