50 Zulu Proverbs, Idioms, Quotes, And Phrases

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Proverbs, idioms, quotes, and phrases exist within various groups of people, and though most sound and have almost the same meanings, others are very unique and intriguing. Here, we give you Zulu proverbs, idioms, quotes and phrases that you need to get familiar with.

If you have been looking out on the internet for Zulu proverbs, you have hit the right button as we have them here sampled for you.

But what is Zulu, and why are Zulu proverbs so powerful?

Zulu people are a Nguni ethnic group in Southern Africa.

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The Zulu people are the largest ethnic group and nation in South Africa with an estimated 10–12 million people living mainly in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

They originated from Nguni communities that took part in the Bantu migrations over millennia.

Now you know who the Zulu people are, let us look at some of the great Zulu proverbs, quotes, idioms and phrases that would make you think.

50 Zulu Proverbs, Idioms, Quotes, And Phrases

Zulu proverbs
Zulu people. Image – MyJoyOnline.com

Zulu proverbs are powerful, and as you would find out from their meanings, a lot of thought goes into processing them to make meaning out of them.

  1. Even the most beautiful flower withers in time.

This Zulu proverb is unique and teaches us a lot about life and times in life. The proverb means that nothing lasts forever, so enjoy it while you have it.

2. The sun never sets that there has not been fresh news.

This is another Zulu proverb that teaches a lot about life. It means: Change is the one constant.

3. Almost doesn’t Kill a bowl.

This Zulu proverb can be found amongst almost every group of people. This Zulu proverb means: Don’t bother to use the excuse that you tried and you almost succeeded.

4. Old age doesn’t announce itself at the gate of the kraal.

This is one of the most powerful Zulu proverbs. The proverb teaches us to be caring to old people as we are also heading there and there is no stopping it. It means: Old age sneaks up on you; it doesn’t simply arrive one day when you are expecting it.

5. You cannot fight an evil disease with sweet medicine.

This proverb among the Zulu people means: Fight fire with fire rather than turning the other cheek.

6. Even immortals are not immune to fate.

This proverb means: Nobody is too big to take a fall. Your wealth, intelligence, and success won’t protect you from random negative events.

7. Guessing breeds suspicion.

Most of us just like to make guesses about everything, so what do the Zulu say about this habit? This proverb, thus, means: When you don’t have all of the facts, you may come to false conclusions or experience paranoia.

8. The bones must be thrown in three different places before the message must be accepted.

This is one of the Zulu proverbs that teaches quite a lot. It means: You should consider a question multiple times in multiple ways before reaching a decision.

9. The lion is a beautiful animal when seen at a distance.

Meaning of this Zulu proverb: Things aren’t always as they seem at first glance, so be careful what you wish for; it may not be what is best for you.

10. When you bite indiscriminately, you end up eating your own tail.

Zulu proverbs are indeed unique. This one here means: Think before you act, especially when acting out of anger or fear. Plan your actions carefully so you don’t make things worse.

50 Zulu Proverbs, Idioms, Quotes, And Phrases

 Zulu proverbs
A Zulu leader. Image | The African Exponent

We bring you more Zulu proverbs, idioms, quotes and phrases.

11. A walking man builds no kraal.

Meaning: If you keep moving, you won’t settle down or be forced to settle down.

12. You can not know the good within yourself if you can not see it in others.

Meaning: If you want to build self-esteem, you need to practice looking for good qualities in others and appreciating them. This in itself is a virtue, which will build goodness in you.

13. You can learn wisdom at your grandfather’s feet, or at the end of a stick.

Meaning: If you pay attention to what your elders are telling you and follow their advice, you won’t have to learn things the hard way through the experience. If you don’t absorb what they have to say, you will have to learn your lessons by making mistakes and accepting the often-painful consequences.

14. Misfortune of soap made of shanks and feet

Meaning: This saying is used by the Zulu people to refer to people who have never done well but you will always find them getting into scrapes.

15. A person is only a person because of other people

Meaning: This saying is used to emphasize teamwork. A person is not to take pride to be self-made because there are always people who have contributed to his/her success in one way or another.

16. The way forward is to ask from those who have been before

Meaning: This saying tells one to seek advice for a situation from people who have been there before. This helps to avoid unforeseen circumstances by providing the best ways to handle the situation.

17. The nice fig is always full of worms

Meaning: This is used to refer to people who always focus on good things often forgetting the bad things also prevailing.

18. The jackal is never kept in the same kraal as the sheep.

Meaning: This saying cautions people not to put things that need to be separated together. The result won’t be so pleasing.

19. There is no snake that forgets its home.

Zulu proverbs and sayings: Meaning: The meaning of this proverb varies depending on who you ask, but the most popular answer is: Home is where the heart is.

20. He has a beetle in his head

Meaning: This saying is used to refer to people who behave in a strange manner.

Zulu proverbs and popular Zulu phrases

Image | Africanews

21. Aman takes from another man’s back.

22. The healer does not diagnose himself.

23. The foot has no nose.

24. If you are looking for a fly in your food, it means that you are full.

25. The last partridge to rise gets the most sticks thrown at it.

26. Greatness is not rushed.

27. The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the next best time is now.

28. Don’t dirty the well after drinking water.

29. If he keeps on imitating everybody, the monkey will one day cut his own throat.

30. One who perseveres has no misfortune.

31. A cow is milked by the one who knows it.

32. No one drinks medicine on behalf of a sick person.

33. Children are like plant offshoots that ever go forward.

34. It is the hunger that killed the man with many wives.

35. People are people through other people.

Zulu proverbs, sayings and idioms

Zulu King
A Zulu king. Image — Starr Fm

36. The baboon does not see its forehead.

37. The fool who owns an ox is seldom recognized as a fool.

38. No stake ever grew old with the bark on.

39. A fool is a wise man’s ladder.

40. Plenty sits; still, hunger is a wanderer.

Popular Zulu proverbs and Zulu Quotes

Image | Citypress

41. Respect is given in two ways.

42. There is no hillside without a grave.

43. A rolling stone gathers no moss.

44. He who has a milking pail should not be obliged to milk on the ground.

45. Once beaten twice shy.

46. Cunning men do not deal with each other.

47. One fly cannot provide for another.

48. Height is not reached in a hurry.

49. The child’s sack is not thrown away after the death of the child.

50. The day is worked while it is still fresh.

These are your 50 Zulu Proverbs, Idioms, Quotes, And Phrases sampled by Ghbase.com.


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My name is David, and I write with you in mind.

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