Tonga proverbs, by Isaac Mumpande - "I"

Article Index



92. Ibbende talilali mumwi antanga.

(A rat and pumpkin seeds cannot sleep together.)

A predator and a pray can hardly stay together without the pray being eaten/destroyed/victimised.


93. Ibbukela talyeeli.

(Mourning for the dead does not end.)

The period for mourning the dead does not cease, therefore, never hurry to the funeral.


94. Ikkulu talisembelwi aabantu.

(Tripe is not exposed in public.)

Never discuss embarrassing issues in presence of many people. Better move to a secretive  place.


95. Indangilzye iyetela kalikule.

(Unnecessary delay in attending to an issue/problem leads to more problems.)

Attend to an issue while it is still budding. If you delay you will fail to overcome/contain it.


96. Inkanga ijata ulaaluno.
(A guinea fowl is caught by a faster runner.)

A person who performs the best gets the award. Those who want awards need to excel in whatever they are doing.



97. Inkoli yamunsamu nguzi ilaambibede.

(A knobkerrie from a tree you know is better.)

Get married to a man/women whose background you know well to avoid problems in your marriage.


98. Inkondo yamwaalu ikonda kukweenda kukulya ilatentuusya.

(A large regiment is good for defense but rather expensive to maintain.)

Having many children is advantageous for defense but providing them with the daily needs is very difficult.


99. Insimba itanakabona kayumya munkanwa.

(A civet cat that has not yet seen what makes saliva in the mouth go dry.)

A person who has not yet experienced a certain problem usually takes it lightly.


100. Insya nchenjezu njiichija kichebuuka.

(A clever buck is the one that runs away and looks back at the same time.)

Always give yourself time to evaluate and reflect on whatever you are doing so that you recognize your mistakes and see how you can overcome them.


101. Inswangaano ifwa asilukobo.

(A meeting is made to fail by the squirrel.)

A journey must be cancelled/postponed if a squirrel crosses in front of you while you are on that journey.


102. Inswi itangunia mutwe kukubola.

(A fish starts to rot at the head.)

The collapsing of an organization/company/committee is usually preceded by the decaying of the management/leader(s).


103. Inyama mweenzu.

(Meat is a visitor.)

Wealth is temporary. Good things are sometimes temporary. Therefore, do not boast about them.


104. Inyati ileelwa aamunsamu.

(One can survive a buffalo attack by quickly turning round a tree.)

A person successfully defends him/herself with a minor detail when everybody was already convinced that he/she is guilty.


105. Inyota mpati itolwa aachikala.

(A big thirsty is taken to a well.)

Take a big problem to those people or authorities who will give a final and long-lasting solution, not to people who will refer you to others after they have failed to make a final decisions/ to give a lasting solution.


106. Inzi ikukkala njiikuswini.

(A fly that lands on you is the one that persist.)

A person a who frequently wish you bad luck directly/indirectly is the one who bewitches you.


107. Inzi ikuzengelela njiikubwene.

(A fly that frequently flies around you is the one that sees you.)

A person who frequently visits you loves you. Treat them nicely also.


108. Isyaalila musule njadonga.

(A goat that trails behind is eaten by the animals of the donga.)

A person who comes last/ delays gets little/ nothing/ bad things because the good thing will have been taken by those who come early. It encourages punctuality.


109. Iwa mibundu isyaala imibundu.

(What falls are ridges (mibundu) and what remains are ridges (mibundu).)

Even if a woman ditches a man she is still going to be married by a man. Even if a man ditches a woman that man will still marry a woman. Be content with the partner you have.


110. Iyuba bbi talikwe mwami.

(A bad day has no chief.)

Anybody, regardless of their leadership position or status can die any day when his or her time has come.


111. Izuba talikwe chiindi chimwi inyika yoonse.

(The sun does not raise at the same time in the whole world.)

New ideas/technology/civilization never reach all the people at the same time. Even the way they are accepted within a society will defer from one person to another. Some people are pro-change while others are conservative.