Tonga proverbs, by Isaac Mumpande - "K"

Article Index



116. Kaambo takaboli.

(A crime does not rot ).

Even if you run away from a crime, by the time you come back after a long period you will still be prosecuted.


117. Kabayunga bakali bakawaale.

(Deceive the brave so that they can attack.)

Never be easily deceived by other people to be at the forefront in doing bad things while they remain in the background .You will be caught /get into trouble while they survive.


118. Kabucha buleta tunji.

(Every day that comes brings new things.)

Each and every day has its own unexpected events .



119. Kabwa kakuwa nzovu.

(A dog that barks at an elephant.)

A useless person who heavily criticizes other people in their absence but when they are present he fears them and pretends everything is normal .


120. Kalonga kayibeme nkikatola.

(A river with still water on the surface is the one with a very strong current beneath.)

Never trust quiet people because most of them are respectable-looking crooks.


121. Kalungununa tajayi mukowa.

(A frank talk does not kill a relationship.)

Be open with your friend/ other people and never fear to tell them the truth even if it will disappoint them. The truth is painful but is constructive.


122. Kasima kamwi kaswini makoswe kulya.

(One piece of sadza that is frequently eaten by many rats.)

A person has evaded death many times . It is therefore not a surprise that he/she has died today .


123. Katanga kalula kakaluzya matanga nyina.

(A bitter pumpkin made other pumpkins bitter.)

The whole group /tribe is said to be bad because of one person who commits a crime or                  has bad behaviour.


124. Kawulu kabumbwidwe nkikamena ndyu (see120)

(A smooth anthill is the one that grows mushrooms.)


125. Kaziba muluwa zilaabulombozeke.

(Let the bumper harvest be within the locality.)

Even if one harvests nothing ,one will survive through borrowing from local people .It’s a different story when none from the area harvest anything ;then all people suffer.


126. Kazila kasumbukide kalaankukaya.

(A seeming busy path leads somewhere.)

Continued bad behavior coupled by ignoring advice ,leads somebody to injury or death.


127. Komwiima nyama chifuwa kumupa.

(Deny them the meat but at least give them bones.)

You can dislike and ill-treat a child but never deny them wisdom or advice.


128. Koochilema kunyigwa maanzi.

(One can drink water at a disabled person’s home.)

Better a person be disabled than for them to die because disabled people can contribute something to the society.


129. Koonsole nchisi (see 165).

(Try and people will respond.)

Better at least to try than to fail completely.


130. Kozya muntu uyindilile.

(Imitate somebody and even perform better than him /her.)

Do not aim at exactly achieving what your role model has achieved aim even higher.


131. Kubelekela kanio kania maanzi.

(Working for an anus that excretes water.)

Labouring  for little or no reward.


132. Kubota milimba yakaya kulilukumba.

(How beautiful the feathers that went to the nightjar.)

What somebody possess does not suit him / her. Usually it refers to a beautiful wife married to an ugly husband or a handsome man married to an ugly wife.


133. Kubote mpali nawakiibumba abije (see 431).

(Is the clay pot better its the maker.)

When you love/marry somebody then whole heartedly accept their parents/relatives too. Never marry somebody and hate his/her parents/ relatives.


134. Kubuzigwa malimo zyaambo tazimani.

(Enquire about farming land and never about the social problems of the area where one intends to go.)

There is no place without social problems.


135. Kuchenjela uujeya nujeegwa tuchenjeli.

(The victim never knows when the killer will act.)

It’s not possible to be ever alert. The person with the intention to do bad knows exactly when the victim can be caught unaware.


136. Kufwa dobola liti mulamu talimani.

(The marriage can collapse but the established relationship continues.)

The collapse of marriage does not bring to an end to the established relations between the two people/families.


137. Kufwa muntu zina talibundi.

(A person dies but the name remains.)

The death of a person does not stop people from using the of the deceased in their discussions.


138. Kufwa nkoona (see 63).

(Dying is sleeping.)


139. Kujeya mpali mbutezi.

(Destroying a clay pot is only due to a slippery place.)

No matter how careful/alert one is, one is bound to commit a crime one day unintentionally.


140. Kujeya nzoka kunyongola mutwe.

(To be one has killed a snake, cut off it’s head.)

One ought to accomplish set objectives before deserting a task. Usually this applies to courting a lady; make sure she clarifies her position before you let her go.


141. Kukobboka kwanzila nkukwichindiila  (see 60).

(A path becomes a path if people frequently use it.)

You achieve what you want by persevering.


142. Kukomena takuzwigwi meja (see 28).

(Adulthood is not indicated by developing horns.)


143. Kukwila ilimukakole ilimudiba tiwambuli.

(An animal caught by a snare makes a noise but the one trapped does not speak.)

A person facing a small problem manages to it with others but somebody with immense problems usually feels powerless.


144. Kula ubone.

(Grow and see.)

The older you get, the more challenges you experience.


145. Kulaabanyoko babi kabakujata kumutwe.

(It’s better to have an ugly mother; she touches your head.)

A child with a mother, even if she is disabled, is much better than a motherless child.


146. Kulabila nkulya.

(Tasting is eating.)

An offence is an offence. A person who commits a small offence is as liable to prosecution as somebody who commits a bigger offence.


147. kule kwamwaaba nkukutakwe mbunia (see 248)

( A far place for a jackal is where there are no favourate fruits.)

No matter how far a place is, if somebody has something important at that place, they will always get there without any hesitation.


148. Kulela mujwa nkulela silwani.

( Staying with your nephew is keeping any enemy.)

Do not stay with your nephew because he will expedite your death in the event that you die. Your nephew is the one who takes over your family and property.


149. Kulelwa muntu moyo tuulelwi ( see 190)

(You can keep the body the body of a person but not his/her heart.)

No one will ever know what the person next to him/her is thinking. It’s impossible to get into the mind of an individual and know what they are thinking and feeling.


150. Kulila kwamaanzi nkukwaalyata.

(Water makes noise when step over it.)

Some people only fight when provoked. They do not provoke others and do not like conflicts.


151. Kulila kwangoma ndubambo (see 141).

(A drum makes sound because of the covering top skin.)


152. Kulila mpiye nkukumulyango.

(The sound of a mpiye is coming from where the door is found.)

Never bother yourself much about a rumour you do not understand properly because you will get to really  know it with time.


153 .Kulila nchili nkuku muunzi.

(Where you here the sound of a pestle and mortar that is where the home is.)

A good home is where there is plenty of food.


154. Kuli uulila takuswiilizigwi.

(A cry from a mourning person must be ignored.)

Never take seriously any bad talk / insult / from a bereaved / sick person or anybody in difficulties.


155. Kuluba  mwaambi mwambilwa talubi.

(A wrong doer easily forget but the wronged does not forget.)

People who wrong others easily forget their mistakes while the wronged people hold grudges and wait for opportunities for revenge.


156. Kulya kuyeeya (see 57).

(Eat and think.)

Enjoy and at the same time have foresight. Never be engrossed in the present good and temporary life and forget about your future.



157. Kulya kwadanzi kwamusule koombelwa ngoma (see 88).

(The last performer is praised by drums.)


158. Kumeelelezyo nkukulinsuwo mpati.

(Last minutes have big bucketfuls.)

Last minutes are dangerous.


159. Kumulomo nkukulikavuna.

(The mouth rescues people.)

People will only assist you if disclose your problems. If you keep quiet nobody will know what you need.


160. Kunadadilwa kulakaatongo.

(Better be fired while you have a ruin.)

Never be entirely dependant on your employer / person keeping you but also have a small piece of land/home where you can go when you are retrenched.


161. Kunakkala amalozi simbuzi ujeya chisi.

(Better stay with a witch because a gossiping person kills lots of people.)

A witch is better than a person who gossips .A witch only kills one person at a time while a person who gossips involves lots of people at a time ,who ,when they fight ,may kill each other.


162. Kunamyongwa nkuyu kukkwisi.

(Better have stomach pains after eating figs than continuing on a hungry stomach.)

People are advised to eat whatever is edible just to keep them going when food is scarce.


163. Kunina mutekwa.

(Defecating in a source of drinking water ).

It’s bad to mess around with a person / organization from whom you get assistance.


164. Kunkombokombo nkukwanu.

(where you buried your umbilical cord will always be your home.)

Even if you vow not to come back home and disappear for years ,you will go back home one day for one reason or the other .


165. Kunsole kulibantu (see129)

(Try and people will respond.)


166. Kununka kwambula nkumwi.

(The mbula fruits smell the same)

Men are the same and so are women .Even if you ditch your wife /husband the one you will marry will be more or less the same as your former spouse. Therefore be patient with your partner .


167. Kupa nkwanzika.

(Giving is reserving for future use.)

If you are a generous person ,the people to whom you give items will also reciprocate by giving you similar or better items in future .


168. Kupya aabambene (mabibi) (see64).

(If one heap of grass catches fire the near one will also catch fire.)

Your neighbour’s problem is also your problem ,therefore ,assist each other when the need arises.





169. Kusanina mweenzu nchikwelete (see216).

(Feeding a visitor is a credit on behalf of the visitor.)

If you treat a visitor well ,they will also treat you well in future when you meet them somewhere else.


170. Kusanina sumu likulya.

(Feeding a spear that eats you.)

Assisting somebody who has bad motives against you.


171. Kutaziba kweelene aakufwa.

(Not knowing is similar to death.)

No one can predict the future.


172. Kuti yakomena nga yanyonka kumwana.

(If a cow gets old it feeds on milk from its offspring.)

When a person is old they entirely depend on their children for all forms of assistance including food.


173. Kuulu ngunansowa.

(legs mislead people ).

Never ill-treat people / visitors because one day you will find your yourself at their place and in dire need of assistance from them .


174. Kuya meja aan’ombe nkumwi.

(All cattle horns go in the same direction.)

People who are related will always come together in times of difficulties even if they were enemies before .


175. Kuyoka kwamwana kuzima mulilo (see 401)

(The way a child roasts meat destroys fire.)

An inexperienced person will always mess things.


176. Kuzwa kwazimwi nkukweelela.

(The removal of some ,means the fitting of other.)

It’s normal for some people to leave jobs / positions / houses so as to create space for others.


 177. Kuzyala kwachembele nkumwi.

(Somebody’s child is also your child.)

Treat other children the way you treat yours.


178. Kuzyala kwawumwi nkuzyala kwaako (see 117)

(Somebody’s child is also your child).


179. Kuzyala nkukwiimika.

(Bearing children is good when all are growing up well.)

A people with lots of children gets assistance in many ways from the many children .


180. Kuzyalwa babili mbwaami.

(Born being two is good.)

It is an advantage to be many because you assist each other in times of need.


181. Kwaduma maziki mabyale akaka.

(Transplants are doing better than the germinated plants.)

The second or third wife is being loved more than the first wife.



182. Kwakafwa munyama kulibonia makubi.

(The place where an animal died is noted by the presence of vultures.)

You see where there is something happening by the crowd streaming towards that place .


183. Kwakawa mvula kulibonia malambwa.

(One notices where it rained by the presence of pools of water.)

A place where something good happened is obvious by its prosperity / abundance.


184. Kwakiinda jamba takubuliki kalanga.

(Where a plough was used you cannot fail to see a maize stalk.)

As long as puts some effort into whatever one is doing , one will be rewarded ,even if the reward is small.


185. Kwafwimpa kuyigwa kwalampa kwakazwigwa.

(The destination is nearer than where one came from.)

People of old age have fewer years remaining for them to die. Or a process is nearing completion.


186. Kwale kkala amusako.

(partridge, stay with your staff.)

Somebody is being alerted about something that may happen ,especially a conflict or something dangerous in the area .


187. kweebelelwa kwadiba nkukucha.

(A trap that frequently kills keeps its owner on his / her toes.)

People tend to do activities that are likely to reward them.


188. Kwiinda chuulu muunzi wamuntu ulasoolwa.

(One can by-pass an anthill without talking to it but not somebody’s home.)

Never by-pass a person/ people without greeting them.