African Proverbs in African Literature

A Critical Resourcebase


GUINEA-BISSAU [Capital City: Bissau ]

This country was colonized by the Portuguese.


1. Singing “Halleluia” everywhere does not prove piety.

2. Saying that it’s for her child, she gets herself a loaf of bread.

3. What one hopes for is always better than what one has.

4. By the time the fool has learned the game, the players have dispersed.

5. No one tests the depth of a river with both feet unless he is prepared to swim.

6. If all seeds that fall were to grow, then no one could follow the path under the trees.

7. The stomach has no holiday.

8. The wealth of the greedy ultimately goes to the community.

9. The bitter heart eats its owner.

10. If you look at a king’s mouth, you will never think that he ever sucked his mother’s breast.

11. The man on his feet carries off the share of the man sitting down.

12. Around a flowering tree, one finds many insects.

13. When a needle falls into a deep well, many people will look into the well but few will be ready to go down after it.

14. Too much discussion means a quarrel.

15. Two flavors confuse the palate.

16. He who talks incessantly talks nonsense.

17. Their mosquito won’t bite me.

18. If a dead tree falls, it carries with it a live one.

19. It is the toothless animal that arrives first at the base of the fruit tree to eat his fill before others arrive.

20. A man with too much ambition cannot sleep in peace.


The following links will take you to sources that have some important information on Guinea-Bissau:



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