Tonga proverbs, by Isaac Mumpande - "S"

Article Index



375. Salazya moyo nsengele.

(Have a clear heart ,you tick .)

Be persevering .


376. Seka bulema nuwafwa (see 447).

(Laugh at disability only when you are dead.)

Never laugh at the disabled /one in problems because you may have similar or more severe disability /problems in the future yourself .


377. Sibbende wakasola butale .

(A rat tried to break metal.)

Even if something is difficult it’s worth trying .


378 . Sibbuzya nzila wakabuzya nzila kayizi.

(Somebody asked for a path they knew already.)

Never fear asking about anything you are not clear about . No one will harass /beat you for enquiring about something as long as you do it politely.


379. Sibulyata mabwe ngusimagwede.

(One who steps on stones tells lies.)

A talkative person is usually a liar .


380 .Sibwaato banda muntu .

(A canoe peddler must shout out the name of the person .)

If you are looking for somebody in a new place, better state his /her name so that it becomes easier for people to direct you to that person.




381. Sibwaato kubezela munzila bakulaye beenda.

(A canoe carver must carve his canoe near a path so that the passers –by advise him.)

 If you have an idea / initiative make it known to other people so that they may help you develop it into a successful thing .By keeping it to yourself you may produce a poorly done thing /fail to accomplish it altogether.


382. Sikabotu takabuli abula buyangwe nkubba.

(A handsome/ beautiful person is usually either promiscuous or a thief.)

Never trust beautiful or handsome people for they are rarely well behaved .All that glitters is not gold .Even items/ situations that appear good may be bad.


383. Sikanyenyeene wakatuma nzovu.

(A ant sent an elephant .)

A young person can request a senior person to do something for him /her .It’s normal.


384. Sikati talikwe buumba wajana mwana aamuntu watuma.

(Daytime has no sorrow because there are many youngsters one can send.)

A couple /somebody without children is blessed during the day as there will be plenty of youngsters /people to assist them but at night there will be no one to assist except themselves doing all the work.


385. Sikkoswe ufwida twiingi.

(A rat dies for many things.)

A person who commits many crimes is usually prosecuted for all crimes the day when he /she is caught .They even be accused of being responsible for crimes they did not commit.


386. Sikulinda kusunzilwa wakiilala (see 59).

(One who waits for others to bring them food slept on a hungry stomach).


387. Sikwiinda tamani ntombo (see 323) .

(A passer –by does not finish a granary.)


388. Siluwe ntwalya tumuntansya mujulu.

(A leopard climbs up  trees because of what he eats.)

A person’s bad behaviour leads him /her into problems .


389. Sikweenda takwe nzila .

(A passer –by has no path .)

Assist a passer –by in whatever form they request assistance.


390 .Simukkala guno tenuka ubiinzizye bachiza (see 26).

(Leave your position and give way to the young people.)

Never cling to a position of leadership but be prepared to give way to the young blood with new ideas .


391. Simulela mwana nkulya .

(Keep a child by giving it food .)

A person can only remain healthy if  they get adequate food where they are staying .


392. Simulizya ngoma  talikambilili .

(A drum player does not clap hands for himself.)

A good person does not praise him/herself but should leave that to other people to do it.


393. Simuluula donda uluula donda lyakamukkede .

(A person who talks about a wound talks about a wound that she /he had before .)

People who talk convincingly about something are those who experienced it before .


394. Simulya taanzi talide (see 91).

(One who eats first did not eat.)


395. Simutakamwi wakaboozya .

(One who insisted on a rigid price did not sell their wares.)

Sellers /hawkers /vendors must be flexible enough to reduce their prices if their wares are to be bought in some cases.


396. Simoonza manego kuswiilila nkwaawida (see 430)

(He who beats the snot–apple tree must listen to where the apples fall.)

Whenever you are speaking ill of someone in his/ her absence you must check whether there is anybody who might tell that person and get you into trouble.


397. Simwaamba bbola ankwaya kulibaamba.

(One who promises to return quickly but , where he /she goes , there are people who entertain him /her .)

If somebody promises to return quickly ,never take it seriously because he/ she does not know what form of disturbances await them where they are going .


398. Simweenda aalikke kakamutola kalonga (see 399)

(One who travels alone was taken by a river .)

There is more security travelling in a group than in travelling alone.


399. Simweenda aalike nchilwi chamafuwa (see 398).

(One who travels alone ends up a pile of bones.)


400. Simweenda lweendo tabuli kankulu kamaanzi .

(One travelling a long distance does not fail to carry a ground of water.)

Never embark on a journey without food /money because you will die from hunger .Always carry something that will assist you ,no matter how small , when you are on a journey .


401. Simwiiya kusunsa musinza, musinza usika kukakokola (see 175).

(One who eats soup for the first time is seen by letting it run down the arm to the elbow.)

One who is a learner in doing something is seen by the poor way they handle /do it.


402. Sinembo tanywi maanzi mabi (see 333).

(One who comes first drinks clean water.)


403. Sinkazi takonwi ukonwa kazwa kubukwe.

(An argumentative person is only humbled by a word from his in -laws.)

No man opposes a word from his in-laws /boss.


404. Sokola kasanzo usweele mulisimutakasakwida.

(Throw a small branch to the place of a person who will not be able to cultivate around it.)

Blame a crime on somebody whom you know cannot successful defend himself/ herself.


405. Sokwe kakamuleya katabi (see 505).

(A baboon missed a branch.)

A person who claims to know everything is stuck /has proved the opposite.


406. Sokwe utondeezya bulowa bwakwe .

(A baboon shows its blood.)

If one is required to pay a fine /lobola and one does not have the means to do so ,one must show whatever small items /money one has as an indication of commitment.


407. Sonsoolo mukali aamulyango wakwe .

(Sonsoolo is brave at his /her door.)

Never provoke somebody while at their home because they will fight to the death and use whatever weapon is in their house .


408. Sulwe usiya bukunku.

(A hare leaves fur .)

A person who dies leaves behind the property he/she possessed .




409. Suntwe moowa nguwongola .

(A coward hyena lives longer .)

One who avoids conflicts /fights also avoids unnecessary injuries and even death . Such people tend to live longer.


410. Suntwe mpaakalya chifuwa taalubi (see 356).

(A hyena does not forget where it ate a bone.)


411. Syatamulanga tukoyoomujana bbonga munono  .

(Syatamulonga , you will never get a nice bbonga.)

Anything good is obtained after hard work.


412. Syabona mweenzu muninzi wanunka mazyu.

(One who ,when seeing strangers ,thinks that old relatives friends smell like faeces.)

Never shun your old friend /lover in favour of a new one because you do not fully know the character of your new friend /lover who may disappoint you.


413. Syabufuma bwaami bulalweza bwaami mbuyusukilwa .

(Getting rich while still young is a bad omen.)

Getting rich while still young is not good because by the time you are old that wealthy will have evaporated .Better get rich while in the middle /later age when one has mature brain to maintain the wealthy .


414. Syabwaami pakala (see 373).

(Let a wealthy person boast about what they have.)


415. Syachibi kubantu kulibanyoko mbuchi (see 493).

(A child may be bad to other people but not to the mother.)

No parent forsakes his /her child or no relatives throw away one of their members regardless of the nature of crime they have committed .


416. Syachindya njimilimu mukwe mubotu taligwi .

(What I eat is good work because a good son-in-law is not eaten.)

A good son-in-law is the one who works very hard for his in-laws not the one who is only smart and lazy.


417. Syafumbwa kulabila ulaacho nguchikkuta .

(As long as one tastes, the owner is the one who gets a larger share.)

In sharing food ,if you are given a small piece that is enough .The owner is the one who gets the largest piece.


418. Syafumba muunyu nkukumujana ulalya .

(For you to say one is stingy you will have found them eating and they did not give you food.)

One should only accuse somebody of a certain bad behaviour if one has enough evidence to support that claim ,such as having caught the accused red-handed.


419. Syafwamba kuboola nkukujana mbwayinkilide .

(For one to return early one will have found the people one had gone for.)

If one goes to a certain place for something one is likely to come back early if one finds it readily available .


420. Syajika kkando kujika chiindi kachichiliwo.

(The one who cooks meat of an old animal must cook while there is still time.)

Start tackling issues that need lots of time /doing difficult things while there is still time.



421. Syakana kania katukizya nyina .

(For a child who messes something , it is the mother who is insulted.)

For anything bad done by a child ,it is the parent who bears the consequences.


422. Syakapya kalimunsemunse kwiinda kakulukulu  (see 364).

(A new thing is better than an old one.)


423. Syakubula matwi meso kulilangila .

(Better not to have ears but to have eyes.)

A person without ears but with eyes is better than the one with ears but without eyes .


424. Syakubula nyama mwiindi kuboola (see 192).

(One who fails to kill anything when hunting must bring his leg home.)

Even if you fail to achieve /get what you want from a certain venture ,do not be shy to come back home ; they will not laugh at you.


425. Syakulanga chaala abasiluzubo nkubalanga .

(Where your toe points is also where your relatives will tend to look.)

In polygamy the wife favoured by the husband is also the one who tends to be liked by the relatives of the husband .


426. Syakule kulaboolwa kutaboolwi nkuulufu.

(Even at a farthest place one will come back unless they die.)

No matter how far somebody goes but they will always come back home regardless of the duration of the period they were away.


427. Syakulekanwa buluzi kumaanzi kamupana .

(Divorce properly so that you give each other water in future.)

Never kill / ill-treat your partner at divorce but better divorce properly in a peaceful manner .


428. Syakulombwa nkuunya upa uliitila.

(One who waits until somebody asks for food is stingy but a generous person simply invites people to join him/ her.)

Never delay in inviting people to the dining table .If they have to ask you to give them food you will be perceived as a stingy person.


429. Syakulwa kumuchilano kunkondo kamuvunana.

(Be rivals at home but defend each other when attacked by an outsider.)

Never ally with an outsider against your family member /work mate .If you are rivals in a family / company /organisation, let it be an internal issue only and unite against an outsider when such a need arises.


430. Syakusya kusinka bulakusiya butele (see 396).

(You who dig ,dig carefully or else the rats will come out and run away.)


431. Syakwela  Katanga alunyina kukwelezya  (see 133).

(You who pull a pumpkin also pull its mother .)


432. Syalakamina zungula kulaloka nduwe nuntondo (see 49).

(You who long for a zungula to fall ,it is you Ntondo who will fall first.)


433. Syalubi lwakuya ndibbotu nibaboola .

(It was bad going there but was pleasant when coming back.)

People who go hunting /do something ,tend to go reluctantly but will be happy if they succeed when they have killed /obtained /achieved something .


434. Syamasende abota kumucheche kumupati ulaachankila.

(Veiled talk to a mature person does work because they will easily deduce the meaning.)

Never try to convey a message to an adult in a veiled manner because they will easily deduce the meaning .Do that to a young person .


435. Syamansuma nkulivuna wajeya muntu ngumubi .

(People with big morsels rescue themselves but one who kills a person is a bad person.)

Eating a lot does not constitute a crime but killing somebody does .


436. Syandabile mulimu nkukachilwa mfundumane nguuzwidilila.

(Tasting a job is failing but hard work leads to success.)

If people embark on doing something they must do it with all their  strength so that they succeed.


437. Syanjila muunzi kulanga kumeso abantu .

(One who gets into a home must look at the face of the owner of the home.)

You can tell whether your visit is welcome or not from the face of the person you are visiting or the way they welcome you.


438. Syanjima ulaankonda utentuusya nguupa.

(A stingy person is fascinating but a generous person makes people worry.)

Better be visited by a stingy person because you will not bother yourself to prepare them something to eat.


439. Syankalibonene kulwiidwa nkutani.

(Let me see it for myself ,not hear it from somebody.)

A person who never believes in what they are told /advised but prefers to see it for themselves.


440. Syakambila mwana ukambila nduwe nubanyina.

(One who praises a child praises the mother.)

If people are praising the good behaviour of your child they will be indirectly praising you because a parent is largely responsible for the nature of the character of the child .


441. Syankozya kwaambuula nkukubona bakulimbila .

(A convincing person is the one with witnesses.)

A person wins a case if she / he has people to support him /her . Those without supporters /witnesses tend to lose cases .


442. Syankumulibeje kubantu kulindinywe nkaala ketwe .

(He speaks well of himself but there is a pile of ash at his home.)

Never boast about things that you do not have .


443. Syankwatabede takuluulwi nkanka .

(Do not talk about a peg found where you have never been.)

Never talk about a place you have never been to as if you once went there .You never know ,the person you are talking to might have full knowledge about that place .Don’t try to deceive others.


444. Syankwaazwa takuwaalwi kabwe (see 2).

(Never throw a stone where you came from ).


445. Syansole talili lyakwe.

(A person trying to do something does not mourn his thing.)

A person who fails while trying to do his or her thing has nobody to blame but him or herself.


446. Syaseka buchembele bulema buza busekaseka (see 376).

(Laugh at old people but disability comes jokingly.)


447. Syabatobela baalu balokupa chifuwa.

(One who follows hunters will be given a bone.)

Always assist people where you can .It does not matter if you do not know how to do it . Your desire to assist others may encourage the people you are assisting to reward you .


448. Syatobela munyama akumatako kakusuumana.

(One who follows an animals must have stiff buttocks.)

Endurance /perseverance. One who initiates something must be prepared to follow through with it regardless of difficulties.


449. Syatundila musonga tubwene musonga ntwiingi .

(Do not boast of a bumper harvest by seeing germinated maize /millet /sorghum plants.)

Never boast about things that are not ripe /final . Something may disturb the success of your thing on the way.


450. Syatulye tumwiime uzookajanayi (see 39).

(Let’s eat and do not give him/her  for he /she will not get anything to give us.)


451. Syula mweenzu ukkute .

(Wish a visitor to come and you will be satisfied.)

Wish a visitor to come so that you can get good things or be assisted .