African Proverbs in African Literature

A Critical Resourcebase

Sierra Leone

SIERRA LEONE [Capital City: Freetown]

Any mention of Sierra Leone brings to mind the insurgency of the rebel United Revolutionary Force (URF) of Corporal Foday Sankoh that destablized this country for many years and led to a massive international peacekeeping operation, spearheaded by Britain (the former colonial master until 1964). The mayhem caused by the civil war is still haunting the country.


1. A paddle here, a paddle there – the canoe stays still.

2. However full the house, the hen finds a corner to lay in.

3. Only a monkey understands a monkey.

4. If you climb up a tree, you must climb down the same tree.

5. A big fish is caught with big bait.

6. He who refuses a gift will not fill his barn.

8. Quarrels end; but words once spoken never die.

9. If a single hair has fallen from your head, you are not yet bald.

10. He who upsets a thing should know how to rearrange it.

11. A cow must graze where she is tied.

12. An orange never bears a lime.

13. Invite some people into your parlor and they will come into your bedroom.

14. The sweet rice is eaten quickly.

15. An elephant’s head is no load for a child.

16. Do not tell the man who is carrying you that he stinks.

17. It is the wandering dog that finds the old bone.

18. To try and to fail is not laziness.

19. When you hunt for a lost knife, look first under the bed, you never know.


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



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