Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs

African proverbs about Love and Marriage

African Proverbs about Love and Marriage

Wood already touched by fire isn't hard to set alight. - Africa

Dogs don't love people, they love the place where they are fed. - Burundi

Where there is love there is no darkness. - Burundi

It is better to be loved than feared. - Sierra Leone

The way to the beloved isn't thorny. - Cameroon (Duala)

One doesn't love another, if one doesn't accept anything from her. - Chad, Niger, Nigeria (Kanuri/Bornu)

Love doesn't listen to rumors. - Ghana (Akan)

Love is like a baby: it needs to be treated tenderly. - Congo

If a woman doesn't love you, she calls you brother. - Ivory Coast (Baule)

Love put the eaglet out of its nest. - Kenya (Gikuyu)

People who love one another do not dwell on each other's mistakes. - Kenya (Gikuyu)

To be smiled at isn't to be loved. - Kenya (Gikuyu)

The house of a person we love is never far. - Kenya (Kikuyu)

A letter from the heart can be read on the face. - Kiswahili

Love has to be shown by deeds not words. - Kiswahili

Love doesn't rely on physical features. - Lesotho

He who loves you, loves you with your dirt. - Uganda (Ganda)

The one who loves an unsightly person is the one who makes him beautiful. - Uganda (Ganda)

To love someone who does not love you, is like shaking a tree to make the dew drops fall. - Congo

He who doesn't like chattering women must stay a bachelor. - Congo

A young wife tends to cook too much at first. - Ethiopia

Bread without sauce and a home without a wife are meaningless. - Ethiopia

The way you got married isn't the way you'll get divorced. - Haiti

A bird can be guarded, a wife can't. - Kiswahili

A man without a wife is like a vase without flowers. - Africa

It is the habit that a child forms at home, that follows them to their marriage. - Nigeria

If you marry a monkey for his wealth, the money goes and the monkey remains as is. - Egypt

Having beauty doesn't mean understanding the perseverance of marriage.- Africa

If you do not travel, you will marry your own sister. - Mozambique

A man that does not lie shall never marry. - Zimbabwe

One who plants grapes by the road side, and one who marries a pretty woman, share the same problem. - Ethiopia

Marriage is like a groundnut: you have to crack them to see what is inside. – Ghana (Akan)

The buttocks are like a married couple though there is constant friction between them; they will still love and live together. - Africa

If there were no cold Friday evenings and boring Saturdays, no one would get married any more. - Morocco

How gently glides the married life away, when she who rules still seems but to obey. - Kenya

He who marries a beauty marries trouble. - Nigeria

A woman who has not been twice married cannot know what a perfect marriage is. - Nigeria

A good wife is easy to find, but suitable in-laws are rare. - Malagasy

It is better to be married to an old lady than to remain unmarried. - Uganda

A woman who is not successful in her own marriage has no advice to give to her younger generations. - Nigeria

A married couple is neither enemies nor friends. - Somalia

If money where to be found up in the trees, most people would be married to monkeys. - Africa

The man may be the head of the home but the wife is the heart. – Kenya (Gikuyu)

If there is cause to hate someone, the cause to love has just begun. - Wolof

The man that won't marry a woman with other admirers won't marry a woman at all. - Nigeria

The robin and the wren are God's cock and hen; the martin and the swallow are God's mate and marrow. - Tanzania

He was entrapped by the evening, it has cost him his marriage. - Bantu

Talking with one another is loving one another. - Kenya

One who loves you, warns you. – Uganda (Baganda)

Leave her now and then if you would really love your wife. - Malawi

The most dangerous thing a man needs is a woman. - Somalia

When one is in love, a cliff becomes a meadow. - Ethiopia

Marriage is not a tight knot, but a slip knot. - Malagasy

Marriage is a snake to slip into your handbag. - Africa

Marriage is a snake to slip into your handbag – Africa

For more African proverbs on love and marriage (and many other topics) please see Lifelines: The African Book of Proverbs

No comments:


When the occasion arises, there is a proverb to suit it. (Proverb from Rwanda and Burundi)

Welcome to this space where we can talk about proverbs that we can relate to (or not), and proverbs that make sense to us (or not). Most of all we can discuss how proverbs make us think about life and living. We can also share experiences of proverbs that have provided us with lifelines or just the chance to reflect.

Some of the proverbs here may also be found in "Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs", published by Random House and authored by Askhari Johnson Hodari and me. The foreword is written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

One of the unique features of our book is that we arranged the proverbs according to life cycle, in sections including, Birth, Childhood, Love, Marriage, and Intimacy, Challenge, and Death.

For more proverbs and for information on Lifelines: the Black Book of Proverbs, please visit us at