African Proverbs in African Literature

A Critical Resourcebase


MAURITANIA [Capital City: Nouakchott]

Mauritania was also colonized by the French and gained independence in 1960. It has a vibrant fishing industry and mineral deposits.


1. It is only the water that is spilt; the calabash is not broken!

2. He who wears too fine clothes shall go about in rags.

3. Before eating, open your mouth.

4. Toio large a morsel chokes the child.

5. One must talk little and listen much.

6. Not all the flowers of a tree produce fruit.

7. Two eyes see better than one.

8. He who loves money must labor.

9. If you watch your pot, your food will not burn.

10. Before one cooks, one must have the meat.

11. A cutting word is worse than a bowstring; a cut may heal but the cut of the tongue does not.

12. He who begins a conversation does not foresee the end.

13. The sheep that wants to grow a long horn must have a strong skull.

14. The tail does not lead the head.

15. To manage yourself, use your head; to manage others, use your heart.

16. The bigger the head, the bigger the headaches.

17. A donkey which goes to grow horns returns with its ears cut off.


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



4 thoughts on “Mauritania

  1. this was very helpful but do you know any poems, or authors from mauritanaia if os please post

    • Hello, John,

      Thanks. I appreciate your kind words. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything on any poet from Mauritania and will look around to see if I can get something for you. Whatever comes my way will be forwarded to you. Good day.

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