African Proverbs in African Literature

A Critical Resourcebase


MADAGASCAR [Capital City: Antananarivo]


1. Indecision is like the stepchild: if he doesn’t wash his hands, he is called dirty; if he does, he is wasting the water.
[Interpretation: If you don’t make the right decisions at the right time, you will always be blamed for the outcome of your actions or inactions.]

2. The end of an ox is beef; and the end of a lie is grief.

3. Don’t kick a sleeping dog.

4. Don’t be so much in love that you can’t tell when the rain comes.

5. Sorrow is like a precious treasure, shown only to friends.

6. Love is like young rice: transplanted, still it grows.

7. An eel that was not caught is as big as your thigh.

8. The dog’s bark is not might but fright.

9. Marriage is not a fast knot but a slip knot.

10. Life is a shadow and a mist; it passes quickly by and is no more.

11. Don’t take another mouthful before you have swallowed what is already in your mouth.

12. Cross the river in a crowd and the corocodile won’t eat you.

13. Let your love be like the misty rain, coming softly, but flooding the river.

14. If you try to cleanse others – like soap, you will waste away in the process!


The following links will take you to sources that have some important information on Madagascar:


Image by luc legay via Flickr



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