Tonga proverbs, by Isaac Mumpande - "N"

Article Index




323. Nakweenda tamani ntombo (see 389).

(A passer-by cannot finish your granary).


324. Nchwaalya nchwaziba (see 338).

(What you have eaten is what you know ).

Never pin your hopes on something you not yet seen .Accept whatever you have been given instead of refusing on offer based on what you think you will get.


325. Ndachija lyamukwiyo ndaakunjila lyangoba.

(I moved from a plain spear to a rough spear.)

One has changed from bad to worse .


326. Ndajeya ndeende muzimu ndabula .

(I have killed my father but did not get the ancestral spirits badge.)

Never kill somebody where you are not going to gain anything from his / her death .


327. Ndakaalazika aanzala makubi kaaswini tulakkuta.

(I made vultures starve while they thought they would get satisfied.)

Someone who narrowly escapes his enemies when they had concluded already that they have cornered him.


328. Ndalibonena aanio meso abonena kule.

(I have seen it with my vagina /penis for eyes see from afar.)

One would have proved beyond doubt that what has been said /alleged is correct about somebody /something.


329. Ndokwatwa / ta nkubatandizi buyangwe.

(I will be married where they do not know about my promiscuity.)

One will be get a marriage partner even if one is promiscuous.


330. N’anza fwa balyiibe bantu .

(N’anza must die so that people become free.)

People wish a certain individual to die so that they can be free in an area .That person can be a habitual rapist , murderer ,thief ,etc and he/she will have become a social out cast and a threat to the community.


331. N’ombe ifwa tibulikupwaya kalongo.

(A dying cow always destroys a clay pot.)

A person never helplessly dies /admits defeat but tends to fight back and dies /agrees after he/ she has put up some form of resistance.


332. N’ombe ntaka itakania muchila wayo.

(A careless cow is careless with its own tail.)

A person reckless with his / her property is left alone because they will be destroying their own property.


333. N’ombe ntaanzi njiinywa maanzi anzinyeme (see 402).

(The first cow drinks clean water.)

Punctual people always get the best .Those who come last /delay tend to get the worst or nothing at all.


334. N’ombe tibuli kabata.

(A cow of one colour tends to have a small spot of a different colour somewhere.)

No matter how good somebody is ,they will have a negative aspect to their character .Nobody is completely perfect .


335. N’ombe tyoka tukuzibe nkwaakazwa.

(Cow ,let your leg break so that we know where you come from.)

The background of a stranger becomes known if they get seriously ill or are involved in an accident.


336. N’unun’unu ngwaababili.

(Verbal noise is made by two people.)

Loneliness is reduced if you are two or more.


337. Ngusintomwi ntunta mbuuli gande (see 30).

(Never taste a piece of a bullfrog.)


338. Ngwajisi ngwali sulwe (see 324)

(What you had caught was the hare.)


339. Nikacheya kaya n’anga .

(Be it small it must be taken to taken the n’anga.)

Whenever people are ill /sick they must always contact a doctor /traditional healer . Never underrate any illness , it may develop into a serious disease later .


340. Niibbwa ibwene mulungwe.

(As the fish splashes water  and surfaces it sees deep water.)

A person deliberately provokes people because he/ she has a dangerous weapon or somebody strong enough to lean on /rescues him /her when things are tough.


341. Niilila tililili uumwi.

(As a rattle makes a noise it does not make a noise for one person.)

A woman never knows who will marry her .Any man from anywhere can marry her.


342. Nilituba mbaanyoko .

(Even if she is white she is still your mother.)

Never shun your parents even if you become an influential person .Your parents will always be your parents.



343. Nindaka jeya munyama mpuwo zyababambi (see 229).

(I killed the animal but somebody else gets the fame.)


344. Nkabwe kawida mukusu.

(A stone that lands on an unfortunate person.)

A crime comes unexpectedly.


345. Nkalanga syuuka tunkalanga nyokwe twakasyuuka .

(The combretum tree must shoot new leaves since other combretums have new shoots.)

If you are left behind , try to catch up by doing what others have done.


346. Nkondo iswini mweenzu.

(The conflict is against a visitor.)

A stranger in an area has higher chance of being involved in accidents, misfortunes or anything  as compared  to the area who are already well –versed with the area.


347. Nkondo ngusulwe .

(A conflict is like a hare.)

Be always armed because a conflict can occur at any time anywhere .


348. Nkufwa chakokabwata (see 349).

(Dying like kabwata’s mother. )

Being overwhelmed by duties /work while nobody assists you.


349.Nfwa chamubwa utakwe ugwala (see 348)

(Dying like a dog that has no one to look after it.)


350. Nkujata nkanka maanza muzimu tuupi tubili (see 290)

(Have a firm grip because the ancestral spirit  give once only.)

Whenever a chance / fortune arises make maximum use of it .You never know, maybe you will not have another chance again.


351. Nkuku ilidwa aamweenzu .

(A chicken is usually killed when there are visitors.)

A special /good thing is usually done when there are visitors so as to impress them However ,non-visitors so as to favour done for the visitors.


352. Nkulamwene mbibantu .

(People who grew up in your eyes are the genuine people.)

Take great care of people who grow up under you for they will also look after you in future.


353. Nkule kwameso matwi alimvwide  (see 461).

(Eyes may not see but the ears hear what is happening.)

People get to know (through other sources) what is happening far away from them .It warns people not to cheat their friends / lovers because they think they are alone and far from they partners. Even if they are far they will still come to know what is happening .


354. Nkumba zibili maanu .

(Two waist belts are better than one.)

Never pin your hope on one thing .Better pin your hope  on many things so that if one of them fails then you will lean on the other.


355. Nkusalala biyo moomba tuuli mulilo (see 224).

(It’s only a red colour for moomber bird; it’s not fire.)

Never fear something from afar before you try it. It could be lees dangerous /difficult than you are thinking .


356. Nkuyakamvwa mweemvwe tikuleki  (see 410).

(A goat will always go where it saw good pastures.)

A person will always go to a place / person where he /she satisfactorily gets assisted in whatever way.


357. Nkuzwa kakusalala ankuya kunoosalala (see 43).

(Clean up behind you then where you are going will be clear.)


358. Nkaambila ulayigwa naakuboola.

(A person who does not take advice is advised when he/she comes back.)

One who does not take advice is better advised when he /she has had a bad experience.


359. Nootenga kanyama kalange kano katimba (see 48)

(He who belittle small meat must go and look at the foot prints of a buck)    


360. Nsikaki kutumwa tabuli kulya.

(The on who accepts being sent anywhere does not fail to get food.)

A person who is very helpful tends to receive a lot of thanks in various ways.


361. Ntombo yaakkuko tinyiinyimwi.

(The granary on the shoulders is not something to go far.)

Never entirely depend on handouts from other people but produce your own food.


362. Ntwiingi tuzinga nio

(There a lot of things that besiege vagina/ penis.)

There are many issues that affect, delay or disturb somebody so that they fail to follow their programme/ fulfill their programme.


363. Nyama yamwana tiikwe mafuta.

(Meat from a young one has no fats.)

Never belittle or complain about something you receive from your child, however small, but appreciate it.


364. Nyeele mpya njibambula (see 422).

(A new trumpet is the one that creates wounds on the bottom lip.)

New possession/ friends tend to receive more attention than the old ones.


365. Inyika ilaamatwi (see 226).

(The earth has ears)


366. Nzala ilimumenyo.

(Hunger is in the teeth.)

Once you eat food, hunger disappears.


367. Nzala nkalonga.

(Hunger is like a steam or flowing water.)

Hunger/starvation may be severe but it is always a temporary thing.


368. Nzala izwa twasika aabantu (see 1).

(Hunger goes away in the presence of the people.)

A problem brought before people is always solved.


369. Nyengule ngumwali muunzi (see 298).

(A big axe is the owner people of the home.)


370. Nzoka ngenzenzi tizibi nkwiyoofwida.

(A provocative snake will not know where it will die.)

An adulterous man can be killed by any of owners of the wives with whom he sleeps.


371. Nzovu tilemenwi musinga wayo.

(An elephant is never burdened by its trunk.)

An individual is never burdened by a load he/ she voluntarily puts on him/ herself. The load referred to can be dependants to be supported or work to be done.