Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

AFRICAN PROVERBS (Choose your favorite)


A king cannot reign without the support of the elders


An elephant which kills a rat is not a hero

An elephant will reach the roof of the house

If the owner of the calabash calls it worthless, then the others will join him to pack it with rubbish

If you show off your strength, you will start a battle

No matter how powerful one is, one can never make the rain fall only on his own home

The bigger the head the bigger the headaches

The sound of a drum is not determined by its size nor the skills of a drummer but by his strength

There are no shortcuts to the top of the palm tree


A needle can overcome a chief

If you are a leader, be like the moon, not like the sun

No matter how full the river it still wants to swell more

Prepare now for the solutions of tomorrow

The art of negotiating is acquired form childhood

The bee is the doctor of flowers

The chief’s wealth is his subjects

The footprint of one person is narrow

The throne upon which the chief is seated does not shake

There is no cock without a comb


A bull does not bellow in a foreign country

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

A wise man cannot save a decaying country as manure cannot save an eroding land

An elephant with a bad leg limps along

Because he lost his reputation, he lost a kingdom

Better a single decision maker than a thousand advisors

Elephants do not beat each other

Great men have big hearts

He who does not know the extent of his power falls and is bruised

He who has power and falls will be bruised

In the house he is a leaf; outside, a camel

Listening acc**ulates power

Madness does not govern a country; discussion does

One does not cut the tusks of an elephant

One person alone cannot rule the country

One who runs alone cannot be outrun

One’s strength in conflict comes from one’s verbal skills

The elephant does not limp when walking on thorns

The foot disdains the head and the head, the foot

The voice of a strong person is obeyed immediately

The sheep with a strong master sleeps with his tail outside the house

The strong bull is overcome when it limps

The weaver must be patient because the weak threads break easily

To kill a lion is to be ready for war

What is inflated too much will burst into fragments

Where a woman rules, stream run uphill

When a strong man sends a message, he sends it with a weak man

When the shepherd comes home in peace, the milk is sweet


A smart opportunist can be an intellectual moron

Even in old age the lion lives with power and with strength

If you only tool is a hammer, you will see every problem as a nail

The law is a spider’s web; only the little insects get caught in it


A crazy chief is more noted than ten normal people

A leader does not listen to rumours

A leader goes to war when he is insulted

A people without a leader ruin the town

An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep

Even the lion, the king of the forest, protects himself against flies

Every dog is a lion at his own gate

If there were no elephant in the jungle, the buffalo would be a great animal

It is better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life

No man rules forever on the throne of time

One head alone does not go into council

One head does not contain all the wisdom

The elders of the village are the boundaries

The poorest person in the world is not the one without money but one without vision

Those who are born on top of the anthill take a short time to grow tall

True power comes through cooperation and silence

When a fish rots, the head stinks first

When a king has good counsellors, his reign is peaceful.


Around a flowering tree there are many insects

Knowledge of leadership is not plucked from the air; one is born with it

Knowledge without wisdom is like water in the sand


Too much discussion leads to a quarrel


A big goat does not snort without reason

A flea can trouble a lion more than a lion can trouble a flea

A fool’s walking stick helps the wise man to stand

An elder is a healer

An elephant is not overpowered by its tusks

A house cannot be repaired when the owner is destroying it

A judge is himself under judgement

A leader does not wish for war

A leader who does not take advice is not a leader

A lion cannot hide in the grass

A man who uses force is afraid of reasoning

A nation is never exulted by disunity

A nose alone does not lead

A person who carries responsibility also receives blame

A slippery person is not a king

A thread follows the path of the needle

An elder can be advised but never insulted

An elephant fears attack from several sides

Avoid singing a song without a soloist

Bad leaders are elected by poor citizens who do not vote

Consensus does not lead to easy decision making

Crookedness does not lead cattle

Do not respond to a mosquito with a hammer because you will miss and hurt yourself

Do not show wisdom, where there is wisdom


A big river is enlarged by its tributaries

A bird with a tail is heard when squawking

A chief is like a potato vine; in straightening it, you break it.

A chief is like a swamp where fire ceases to burn

A great leader is an ordinary person with extraordinary wisdom

A quarrelsome chief does not hold a village together

Acc**ulation got the giant rat killed

Cooperation pulled the goat from the hyena

Do not put a stone to block your promise

Even the fiercest leader in the world is overcome by sleep

He beats the drum for himself

He who thinks he is leading and has no one following him is only taking a walk

He who has a leader is not the master of his burden

Those who accomplish great things pay attention to little ones

When the baobab tree has fallen, the goats start climbing on it

Whether a chief is good or bad, people unify around someone


A community without elders does not prosper


Leadership does not depend on age

Where the chief walks there disputes are settled


A bird can drink much but an elephant can drink more

A chief is a reward of God

A doctor who invoked a storm on his people cannot prevent his house form destruction

A leader in the community without a pot belly is a stingy man

A leader who understands proverbs reconciles difficulties

A shepherd does not strike his sheep

Being happy is better than being king

If a man wants to grow a long tooth, he should have the lip to cover it

If the sun claims that it has power over the moon, let it shine in the night

If you think you have someone eating out of your hands, it is a good idea to count your fingers

In the moment of crisis, the wise build bridges and foolish build dams

Other people’s wisdom prevents the king from being called a fool

Strategy is better than strength

The elephant’s tracks cover the camel’s tracks

The king who shuts his eyes during famine in the land will soon see ancestors

North African

A tyrant is only a slave turned inside out

Discord between the powerful is a fortune for the poor

Every cock is a town crier in his own dung heap

He who wants to be famous will have many sleepless nights

If you fear something you give it power over you

In its own nest the beetle is king

The multitude is stronger than a king

Those in power never give way and admit defeat; they plot and scheme to regain their lost power and privilege

Who is brave enough to tell the lion that his breath smells?


The strong do not need clubs

Sierra Leonean

A big fish is caught with big bait

A clear thinking leader is a sign of stability and an agent for change in society

If the cockroach wants to rule over the chicken, then it must hire the fox as a body-guard

The palm tree that encourages birds to nest in it should not cry over shattered leaves


A bridge is repaired only when someone falls into the water

A cat in its castle has lion’s teeth

A string is needed to gather scattered beads

Be a mountain or lean on one

Even the king needs to be taught

He who dictates separates himself from others

The key to a healthy body is a good head

To agree to have dialogue is the beginning of a peaceful resolution

To destroy the bones of an elephant, strike them against other elephant bones

Wisdom does not come overnight

South African

A chief is a chief because of a nation

A chief is a hornless cow

A chief’s hands are long

A clever king is the brother of peace

A crowd can easily overpower a bull

A kraal is built around a chief’s voice

A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred

Do not call a dog with a whip in your hand

Even an ant can hurt an elephant

Good behaviour must come from the top

Horns which are put on do not stick properly

It takes a long time to unite an entire village hunting group

The house of a leader who negotiates survives

The jungle is stronger than the elephant

The power of the crocodile is in the water

Kings have no friends

When the chief speaks, the people listen


A large chair does not make a king

He is like a drum which makes a lot of noise but is hollow inside

Patience is the key which solves all problems

The elephant needs noise


We do not suffer illness when the doctor is around


A boat cannot go forward if each rows his own way

A small thing can cause the downfall of a powerful person

A wise person will always find a way

Bribery is the enemy of justice

Do not forget what is to be a sailor because of being a captain yourself

For the sake of peace, hard decisions must be made

If you are filled with pride, then you will have no room for wisdom

The humble pay for the mistakes of their leaders

The ship that is wrecking has no pilot

What is famous does not last


A cock fears a cock which removes its feathers

A deputy chief settles only small cases

A generous chief makes you thankful

A joyful leader is not ignored

A leader’s handbag is never completely empty

A ruler who is weak puts a load on his head

Arrogance burned the chief’s compound

Being a leader is like a borrowed garment

Being a small chief is better than being second in command

Better a poor hut than a palace of a tyrant

Cheekiness does not make a good leader

Climbing up is easier than climbing down

Curses do not fell a buffalo

Do not be a leader and use it to your own advantage

Even a hired shepherd sings epics about his cattle

For lack of criticism, the trunk of the elephant grew very long

He who fears the sun will not become chief

He who is destined for power does not have to fight for it

He who walks in front gives you wisdom

Horn blowers, blow in unison


A tree is strong because of its roots

Build the bridge first

If two wise men always agree, then there is no need for one of them

Teamwork without coordination brings confusion

The more feathers a chicken has, the bigger it looks

The wise continues while the fool is always beginning

The worlds of the elders do not lock all the doors; they leave the right door open

Threats and insults never rule a country

To protect an individual is to protect society

Too many cocks crowing at the same time make the dawn take too long

When the head is too big, it cannot dodge blows


A clever bird builds its nest with other birds’ feathers

Choose your favorite and put it on your agent profile

Views: 14573

Comment by Paul Holze on April 28, 2010 at 4:14am
These are my favorite:

If you only tool is a hammer, you will see every problem as a nail
A tyrant is only a slave turned inside out
A bridge is repaired only when someone falls into the water
An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep (and like you, this is my most favorite)
Comment by John D. Boyden on May 1, 2010 at 5:30pm
WOW great collection +1 KS..am copy/pasting to file!
Comment by Samiran Roy on May 1, 2010 at 5:48pm
The jungle is stronger than the elephant
If you only tool is a hammer, you will see every problem as a nail


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