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Five Inspirational Nigerian Proverbs and Their Meanings

Although taken from the Igbo speakers of Nigeria, these proverbs are relevant across language and cultural barriers.

  1. The Ibo people will tell you in proverb that “nwa nte` na nwu, ya si a ya na ha mmanu” translation: the cricket is being roasted to death claiming its shedding out excess oil in its system.
  2. Simply put some people will prefer to die boasting when they can easily share their problem and be saved or another meaning or instance when you can use this proverb is when someone is indirectly shooting him or her self on the foot thinking they are doing the right thing. Example: some people will claim flirting is part of good time when they are only exposing themselves to std’s especially HIV.

  3. You will also hear an Ibo native tell you “onye isi a hu biye uzo ya si ya na la oke ututu echi” translation: a blind man that has no sight and is saying he will be leaving very early tomorrow morning. This proverb can be used when one is expecting positive results without adequate preparation.
  4. Another inspiring proverb is this “mberede kariri dike mana mberede ke gi amakwa dike” translation: emergency overtakes a champion but then it’s that same emergency that makes a true champion. Its explanation is simple if something comes up suddenly there is little or nothing you can do about it but then the way you react to that problem determines if you are a true champion.
  5. Now think about this one “ngwerre hara ukwu osisi aka akparaya” translation: if the lizard leaves treading at the base of a tree, it will be caught. Meaning that one should boast of the terrain he or she knows. Example: a doctor might have some ideas about law but can’t boast of it.
  6. Lastly “ojinu ne be` osi onye ne jigi ya me gi ni” translation: he who has and is weeping what does he want those who do not have to do. You should be proud of whatever you have no matter how little because out there someone lacks that same thing.

Think about this.

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