Proverbs 1 to 90

DIANE 1 - 90

SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

1. A e ne modiga!

Let it drop! (Said by one who settles a quarrel between two contending parties.)

Forgive and forget.

2. A ga eare lo bolela loare kolobe o kana ka poo?

Did not you tell us that a pig was as big as a bull?

That's as true as that the cat crew, and the cock rocked the cradle.

3. A Hura ja Mmotlana, boroko!

O sleep the poor man's fat (= luxury).

Blessed be he who first invented sleep. It covers a man all over like a cloak.

4. A lo mpona phiri-oa-potlana loa mpataganela?

Because you see that I am a small wolf you (both) join forces against me.

He that's down, “down with him” cries the world.

5. A ngoedi oa tlaʼ tshege letsatsi, are “U moshoeu?”

Can the moon laugh at the sun and say, “You are white”?

The frying pan said to the kettle: “Avaunt, black brows.”

6. A o chogile ka a di ga a di tlatsa kobo di sena moroadi?

What did he pick a bale full of wild berries for, when he had no one to carry them?

Don't run away with more than you can carry.

7. A phalana tse re kile rane re di letsa!

O! the trumpets we used to blow.

A lament by people whose fortunes have decayed.

8. Aramela letsatsi le sa tlhabile.

See! Eare le go tlhabetse.

Make hay while the sun shines.

9. A u Njesa dijo tsa di?

Do not feed me on imaginary food.

To fill the mouth with empty spoons.

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SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

10. A u rata dilo tsa ga ʼma-Napo, ʼma-Napo u sa mo rate?

Are you fond of Mrs. Napo's goods, while you dislike her person?

Every man will be thy friend whilst thou hast wherewith to spend.

10a. A u nkgoga loleme kese kgaga.

Are you going to pull out my tongue like a weasel's? (= you want to know too much).

(1) Silence is a friend that will never betray.
(2) So fragt man die Bauern die Künste ab. (G.)

11. A ur ruta choene mapalamo?

Are you teaching a monkey the way to climb?

Don't teach fishes to swim.

12. A u shegela ngoana thari mpeng?

Are you braying a “thari”  1  for an unborn child?

Boil not the pap before the child is born.

13. A u tla direloa fela u se nama?

Are you going to be served (up) just like meat?

Do pigeons fly ready roasted into one's mouth?

14. A u tla ea magaleng gabedi?

Will you venture on the coals a second time?

Once bitten, twice shy.

15. A u tla isa nonyana Boroa?

Will you carry the bird to the South?

Ye drive a snail to Rome.

16. A u tla tlhaloganya ditlhaa le tlhogo?

Are you going to separate the jawbones from the head?

They both put their hands in one glove.

17. Ba ba ratang pako ba jeoa dikobo.

Those who are fond of flattery are cheated out of their property.

(a) Fair words make me look to my purse.
(b) Tout flatteur vit au depens de celui qui lʼécoute. (F.)

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SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

18. Ba betsana ka noga e utloa.

They beat each other with a live snake.

They are at daggers drawn.

19. Ba bolaoa ba sa choga ditlhatshana.

They were killed when they still shied at small bushes.

He thinks every bush a boggart.

20. Bacomi ga ba ke ba tlhakanela sekgoa.

Hunters never share the same forest.

Two stars keep not their motion in one sphere.

21. Ba epela selepe.

They are burying the axe.

They are burying the hatchet.

22. Ba fitlha lesiela.

They are burying the orphan.

They will come again as Goodyer's pigs did.

23. Bagologolo ke rona basha.

We old folk are the real modern people.

Die Alten sind die einzigen Alten, die nie alt werden. (G.)

24. Ba keledi tsa mathe.

Those who wet their faces to pretend that they are weeping.

Crocodile tears (those who shed them).

25. Ba makgabe a dipapetla, a logiloe ke ngoanyana a sa itse go otlha.

Their kilts are broad, as if plaited by an unskilled weaver (= they are in a hurry).

You ride as if you went to fetch a midwife.

26. Ba ʼmolokile.

They have preserved him (= in gaol).

The coaches won't run over him.

27. Bana ba bua le Modimo.

Children converse with God.

Heaven lies about us in our infancy.

28. Bana ba kgori, monokoana o seng; Tshika e ea baneng ea kgaoga.

The off-spring of the bustard are members of no man;
When family relationship extends to the children it ceases.

(a) There arose up a new king over Egypt which knew not Joseph. (X.)
(b) Too, too forgetful of thy kin.

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SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

29. Bana ba tadi ba itsioe ka mereto.

Kittens of the wild cat are known by their mewing.

(a) Like mother, like child.
(b) Qualis avis, talis cantus; qualis vir, talis oratio. (L.)

30. Bana ba tladi ba anyela loratleng.

Children born amid lightning flashes are fed during peals of thunder.

The Devil's children have the Devil's luck.

31. Banna ga ba na thoadi, ba bonyoe ke ʼMa-Mariga.

Men are just alike; Mrs. Winter found them out.

Men's vows are women's traitors – (or: All men are liars).

32. Baphunyeditse pudungoana dintsi.

They have made a loophole for the flies to get at the venison.

 

33. Ba-rata-motho ba kana ka ba-mo-tlhoi.

A man's friends are as many as his enemies.

He who has many friends has no friends. (Grk.)

34. Ba re anyetse dipodi.

They have milked our goats dry (= got the better of us).

 

35. Basha ke rona mme bagologolo.

We young folk are the real old people.

(a) Ach! Es geschehen keine Wunder mehr. (G.)
(b) Addressez-vous aux jeunes gens; ils savent tout – or:
Ah! il n'y a plus d'enfants. (F.)

36. Basimane ba tsentse khadi monoana.

The boys dipped their fingers in the honey-beer (= men's food).

Fools step in where angels fear to tred.

37. Batho ba lemogana loetong.

People know each other better on a journey.

In sports and journeys men are known.

38. Batho ga ba tlale ese dinku.

Persons, unlike sheep, can never fill a place.

In the smallest cottage there is room for two lovers.

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SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

39. Bodiba bo chele ke ntse ke bo lebile.

The pool dried up while I was looking at it.

 

40. Bodipa joa moraka bo gaisa joa legae.

The made up chieftainship of the boys at the cattle posts is often more vigorous than that of their fathers at home.

Eine Handvoll Gewalt ist besser als Sackvoll Recht. (G.)

41. Boferefere gase papadi.

Chicanery is not business.

Cheats never prosper.

42. Bogosi boa taga.

Kingship is (often) intoxicating.

Grave pondus illum, magna nobilitas premit. (L.)

43. Bogosi boa tsaleloa, ga bo loeloe.

Man should be born for kingship, not fight for it.

(a) A king is born, not made.
(b) Deus solus haeredem facere potest, non home. (L.)

44. Bogosi ga bo tloloe ese lecoku.

You could daub yourself with ochre but not with kingship.

(a) Lʼabiu le moins ne fait pas. (F.)
(b) Delegatus non potest delegare. (L.)

45. Bo-kojoa-fela ba ga Ra-Mpeile.

Ra-Mpeile's goods are only to be looked at (= not touched).

(a) Honey is too good for a bear.
(b) O noctes coenaeque deum (A feast for the gods). (L.)

46. Bojaloa, thabisa digogo.

Drink will even cheer sullen people.

(a) When wine sinks, words swim.
(b) Fecundi calices quem non fecero disertum. (L.)

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SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

47. Bojang ga bo bofane.

Tufts of grass do not bind each other, or; Hay never gets into a tangle.

While the grass grows the horse starves.

48. Bojang joa pitse ke jo bo mo mpeng, Jo bo ko ntle e shoa e bo hupile.

Horse hay is that which is in the horse's stomach, that which is outside the horse may die before swallowing it.

If a man empties his purse into his head no man can take it from him.

49. Bonche ga ba tlhakanele kutta.

Ostriches never share the same nest.

Two women in one house,
Two cats and one mouse,
Two dogs and one bone,
Never will accord in one.

50. Bongoe fela ke bobedi, bojosi losho.

Two persons are equal to one, one is a mere nothing.

Two heads are better than one, or why do folks marry?

51. Bontle bo nale dibelebejane.

Beauty has its irksome disadvantages.

(a) Falseness often lurks beneath fair hair.
(b) Beauty is but a vain and doubtful good.

52. Bontsi bo ntsha mangana.

A multitude will give you swollen cheeks.

Let him who would be ill served keep plenty of servants.

53. Bopelonomi bo bolaile Ma-Masiloanoke.

M. was killed by her own hospitality (magnanimity).  2 

There was a wife who kept her supper for her breakfast, and she was dead before day.

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SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

54. Bophokoje ba ba nkgoe ba itsanye ka mebala.

Grey jackals know each other by their speckles.

All flesh consorteth according to its kind, and a man will cleave to his like.

55. Boraro ke bobedi, bobedi ke jone bongoe fela.

There is company, two is singleness.

One man's company is no company.

56. Boroko ngoana 'ra losho.

Sleep, the near relative of death.

(a) Sleep the antechamber of the grave.
(b) Somnus est imago mortis. (L.)

57. Boshoa joa tau ke letlalo.

A lion's inheritance is the skin.

The lion's skin is never cheap. (There is nothing like leather.)

58. Bosigo ga bo akele ope.

Darkness gossips about no one.

I have night's cloak to hide me from their sight.

59. Bosigo ga bo na bosigonyana.

Darkness has no diminutive of darkness.

Handle nothing by candle light, for by candle light a goat is like a gentlewoman.

60. Do.

Do.

Fallaci nimium ne crede lucernae. (L.)

61. Botlhale bo bolaile mongoa jone.

Wisdom killed the wise man.

From ignorance our comfort flows;
The only wretched are the wise.

62. Botlhale ga bona ntlo ea jone.

Wisdom has no dwelling house of its own.

Science and religion know no territory.

63. Botlhoko bo bonako go tsena, bo bonya bo coa.

Disease is quick in coming but slow in departing.

(a) Agues come on horseback and go away on foot.
(b) Tout mal arrive avec des ailes, et s'en retourne en boitant. (F.)

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SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

64. Choana puleng dia raga – (jaka: Nare tsa Gabane).

In rainy weather dark (maidens) kick.

Beware of the forepart of a woman as the hind part of a mule.

65. Choene eo o bobooa bo ntlha oa ikilela.

A monkey with prickly hair defends itself against all approaches.

Every genius is defended from approach by quantities of unavailableness.

66. Choene ga ipone mariba.

A monkey doesn't see its own hollow eyes.

(a) The eye that sees all things else, sees not itself.
(b) Ein Esel schimpft den andern Langohr. (G.)
(c) Un laid visage ne paraît pas a celui qui la porte. (F.)

67. Choeu ga di coane, ncho cone pia coana.

Whites never fall out, only blacks do.

It's an ill bird that fouls its own nest.

68. Choeu tsa ga Ra-Ntlatlana, marakalala letsibogong.

The whites of R. they waylay you at the drift (said in praise of Boers in war times).

 

69. Cholofelo ga e tlhabise ditlhong.

Expectation (hope) causes no shame.

(a) To expect, to expect, is worth 400 drachms.
(b) L'espérance est le songe d'un homme éveillé. (F.)

70. Cholo go diteoa je le fa.

A chief always beat the forces that are present.

The absent one will not be the heir – or:
On touche toujours sur le cheval qui tire. (F.)

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SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

71. Choshoane e kile ea roma tlou.

An ant once made an errand boy of an elephant (thus a young person may send an old man).

See: Gatoe choshoane.

72. Chukudu ea ga ka! (go bua kala).

My rhinoceros! Quoth the “rhino bird”.

Ego et rex meus. (L.)

73. Chukudu e feta maroana, pounama di botlhoko.

When a rhinoceros passes by the mimosa woods, depend upon it its jaws are sore.

Hunger fetches the wolf out of the woods.
(N.B. In the vernacular, it is over-eating that fetches the rhinoceros out.)

74. Chukudu e senang ngoana e ikisa mokgobeng.

The rhinoceros which has no calves betakes itself to the muddy lake.

There is not so much comfort in having children as there is sorrow in parting with them. (Con.)

75. Chukudu e tona ga e ke e eteleloa ke e namagadi pele.

The male rhinoceros is never preceded by the female.

When woman reigns the devil governs.

76. Chukudu ga e ke e coa sekgoeng fela, ea bo e utluile botlhoko.

The rhinoceros never leaves the forest without it has been hurt.

When the hound's in the green wood, the hind keeps the hill.

77. Chukudi, ko gobe e isioa. Ke ngoana.

The rhinoceros is led to trouble by its calf.

The birth of a child is the imprisonment of a soul.

78. Coga, u le gatetse!

Cheer up! You have turned the corner.

It is a long lane that has no turning.

79. Dia tle di ragoge sentle, pheleco ea cone losho.

They always start well but the upshot is (often) chaotic.

(a) Acribus initiis, incurioso fine. (L.)(b) Aller Anfang ist heiter. (G.)

80. Dibaga di tloga baapari di ea bafololeding.

Necklaces depart from their wearers and go to the workers.

Tottenham is turned French.

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SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

81. Dibana se-pele ga se ikangoe.

The fountain ahead is not to be trusted.

Water afar will not quench fire at hand.

82. Dichoang-choang, di ea thoteng di bapile.

“As like as likes,” side by side they proceed to the hill.

(a) Six of one and half a dozen of the other.
(b) Gleich und Gleich. (G.)

83. Di coa baaparing di ea bafololeding.

The robes proceed from the wearers to the weavers.

Klaas is baas en die Baas is Klaas. (D.)

84. Digoana tsa basadi, thabisa digogo.

Women's gourds (of beer) will gladden the morose.

Glasses and lasses are brittle ware.

85. Digole ga di tshegoe, bonnaka.

The infirm are not to be derided.

Deride not any man's infirmities.

86. Di-ja-mmogo dia itsanye.

Comrades in plunder know each other.

A thief knows a thief, as a wolf knows a wolf.

87. Dika u kgatlhe ga e itsioe.

We never know what is going to happen.

Wer weiss, was in der Zeiten Hintergrunde schlummert. (G.)

88. Dikgaga di remana ka matlape.

The strife is at its highest.

 

89. Dikgomo tshesebe tsa o salang, di tlolegoa too.

Meaning not clear.

 

90. Dikhutsana re bo phomela gotlhe, re lema lopetleke.

We commoners rush in anywhere and plough over wide fields.

(a) Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
(b) Ich heisse der reichste Mann in der getauften Welt:
Die Sonne geht in meinem Staat nicht unter. (G.)

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Proverbs 1 to 90

DIANE 1 - 90

SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

1. A e ne modiga!

Let it drop! (Said by one who settles a quarrel between two contending parties.)

Forgive and forget.

2. A ga eare lo bolela loare kolobe o kana ka poo?

Did not you tell us that a pig was as big as a bull?

That's as true as that the cat crew, and the cock rocked the cradle.

3. A Hura ja Mmotlana, boroko!

O sleep the poor man's fat (= luxury).

Blessed be he who first invented sleep. It covers a man all over like a cloak.

4. A lo mpona phiri-oa-potlana loa mpataganela?

Because you see that I am a small wolf you (both) join forces against me.

He that's down, “down with him” cries the world.

5. A ngoedi oa tlaʼ tshege letsatsi, are “U moshoeu?”

Can the moon laugh at the sun and say, “You are white”?

The frying pan said to the kettle: “Avaunt, black brows.”

6. A o chogile ka a di ga a di tlatsa kobo di sena moroadi?

What did he pick a bale full of wild berries for, when he had no one to carry them?

Don't run away with more than you can carry.

7. A phalana tse re kile rane re di letsa!

O! the trumpets we used to blow.

A lament by people whose fortunes have decayed.

8. Aramela letsatsi le sa tlhabile.

See! Eare le go tlhabetse.

Make hay while the sun shines.

9. A u Njesa dijo tsa di?

Do not feed me on imaginary food.

To fill the mouth with empty spoons.

SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

10. A u rata dilo tsa ga ʼma-Napo, ʼma-Napo u sa mo rate?

Are you fond of Mrs. Napo's goods, while you dislike her person?

Every man will be thy friend whilst thou hast wherewith to spend.

10a. A u nkgoga loleme kese kgaga.

Are you going to pull out my tongue like a weasel's? (= you want to know too much).

(1) Silence is a friend that will never betray.
(2) So fragt man die Bauern die Künste ab. (G.)

11. A ur ruta choene mapalamo?

Are you teaching a monkey the way to climb?

Don't teach fishes to swim.

12. A u shegela ngoana thari mpeng?

Are you braying a “thari”  1  for an unborn child?

Boil not the pap before the child is born.

13. A u tla direloa fela u se nama?

Are you going to be served (up) just like meat?

Do pigeons fly ready roasted into one's mouth?

14. A u tla ea magaleng gabedi?

Will you venture on the coals a second time?

Once bitten, twice shy.

15. A u tla isa nonyana Boroa?

Will you carry the bird to the South?

Ye drive a snail to Rome.

16. A u tla tlhaloganya ditlhaa le tlhogo?

Are you going to separate the jawbones from the head?

They both put their hands in one glove.

17. Ba ba ratang pako ba jeoa dikobo.

Those who are fond of flattery are cheated out of their property.

(a) Fair words make me look to my purse.
(b) Tout flatteur vit au depens de celui qui lʼécoute. (F.)

SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

18. Ba betsana ka noga e utloa.

They beat each other with a live snake.

They are at daggers drawn.

19. Ba bolaoa ba sa choga ditlhatshana.

They were killed when they still shied at small bushes.

He thinks every bush a boggart.

20. Bacomi ga ba ke ba tlhakanela sekgoa.

Hunters never share the same forest.

Two stars keep not their motion in one sphere.

21. Ba epela selepe.

They are burying the axe.

They are burying the hatchet.

22. Ba fitlha lesiela.

They are burying the orphan.

They will come again as Goodyer's pigs did.

23. Bagologolo ke rona basha.

We old folk are the real modern people.

Die Alten sind die einzigen Alten, die nie alt werden. (G.)

24. Ba keledi tsa mathe.

Those who wet their faces to pretend that they are weeping.

Crocodile tears (those who shed them).

25. Ba makgabe a dipapetla, a logiloe ke ngoanyana a sa itse go otlha.

Their kilts are broad, as if plaited by an unskilled weaver (= they are in a hurry).

You ride as if you went to fetch a midwife.

26. Ba ʼmolokile.

They have preserved him (= in gaol).

The coaches won't run over him.

27. Bana ba bua le Modimo.

Children converse with God.

Heaven lies about us in our infancy.

28. Bana ba kgori, monokoana o seng; Tshika e ea baneng ea kgaoga.

The off-spring of the bustard are members of no man;
When family relationship extends to the children it ceases.

(a) There arose up a new king over Egypt which knew not Joseph. (X.)
(b) Too, too forgetful of thy kin.

SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

29. Bana ba tadi ba itsioe ka mereto.

Kittens of the wild cat are known by their mewing.

(a) Like mother, like child.
(b) Qualis avis, talis cantus; qualis vir, talis oratio. (L.)

30. Bana ba tladi ba anyela loratleng.

Children born amid lightning flashes are fed during peals of thunder.

The Devil's children have the Devil's luck.

31. Banna ga ba na thoadi, ba bonyoe ke ʼMa-Mariga.

Men are just alike; Mrs. Winter found them out.

Men's vows are women's traitors – (or: All men are liars).

32. Baphunyeditse pudungoana dintsi.

They have made a loophole for the flies to get at the venison.

 

33. Ba-rata-motho ba kana ka ba-mo-tlhoi.

A man's friends are as many as his enemies.

He who has many friends has no friends. (Grk.)

34. Ba re anyetse dipodi.

They have milked our goats dry (= got the better of us).

 

35. Basha ke rona mme bagologolo.

We young folk are the real old people.

(a) Ach! Es geschehen keine Wunder mehr. (G.)
(b) Addressez-vous aux jeunes gens; ils savent tout – or:
Ah! il n'y a plus d'enfants. (F.)

36. Basimane ba tsentse khadi monoana.

The boys dipped their fingers in the honey-beer (= men's food).

Fools step in where angels fear to tred.

37. Batho ba lemogana loetong.

People know each other better on a journey.

In sports and journeys men are known.

38. Batho ga ba tlale ese dinku.

Persons, unlike sheep, can never fill a place.

In the smallest cottage there is room for two lovers.

SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

39. Bodiba bo chele ke ntse ke bo lebile.

The pool dried up while I was looking at it.

 

40. Bodipa joa moraka bo gaisa joa legae.

The made up chieftainship of the boys at the cattle posts is often more vigorous than that of their fathers at home.

Eine Handvoll Gewalt ist besser als Sackvoll Recht. (G.)

41. Boferefere gase papadi.

Chicanery is not business.

Cheats never prosper.

42. Bogosi boa taga.

Kingship is (often) intoxicating.

Grave pondus illum, magna nobilitas premit. (L.)

43. Bogosi boa tsaleloa, ga bo loeloe.

Man should be born for kingship, not fight for it.

(a) A king is born, not made.
(b) Deus solus haeredem facere potest, non home. (L.)

44. Bogosi ga bo tloloe ese lecoku.

You could daub yourself with ochre but not with kingship.

(a) Lʼabiu le moins ne fait pas. (F.)
(b) Delegatus non potest delegare. (L.)

45. Bo-kojoa-fela ba ga Ra-Mpeile.

Ra-Mpeile's goods are only to be looked at (= not touched).

(a) Honey is too good for a bear.
(b) O noctes coenaeque deum (A feast for the gods). (L.)

46. Bojaloa, thabisa digogo.

Drink will even cheer sullen people.

(a) When wine sinks, words swim.
(b) Fecundi calices quem non fecero disertum. (L.)

SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

47. Bojang ga bo bofane.

Tufts of grass do not bind each other, or; Hay never gets into a tangle.

While the grass grows the horse starves.

48. Bojang joa pitse ke jo bo mo mpeng, Jo bo ko ntle e shoa e bo hupile.

Horse hay is that which is in the horse's stomach, that which is outside the horse may die before swallowing it.

If a man empties his purse into his head no man can take it from him.

49. Bonche ga ba tlhakanele kutta.

Ostriches never share the same nest.

Two women in one house,
Two cats and one mouse,
Two dogs and one bone,
Never will accord in one.

50. Bongoe fela ke bobedi, bojosi losho.

Two persons are equal to one, one is a mere nothing.

Two heads are better than one, or why do folks marry?

51. Bontle bo nale dibelebejane.

Beauty has its irksome disadvantages.

(a) Falseness often lurks beneath fair hair.
(b) Beauty is but a vain and doubtful good.

52. Bontsi bo ntsha mangana.

A multitude will give you swollen cheeks.

Let him who would be ill served keep plenty of servants.

53. Bopelonomi bo bolaile Ma-Masiloanoke.

M. was killed by her own hospitality (magnanimity).  2 

There was a wife who kept her supper for her breakfast, and she was dead before day.

SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

54. Bophokoje ba ba nkgoe ba itsanye ka mebala.

Grey jackals know each other by their speckles.

All flesh consorteth according to its kind, and a man will cleave to his like.

55. Boraro ke bobedi, bobedi ke jone bongoe fela.

There is company, two is singleness.

One man's company is no company.

56. Boroko ngoana 'ra losho.

Sleep, the near relative of death.

(a) Sleep the antechamber of the grave.
(b) Somnus est imago mortis. (L.)

57. Boshoa joa tau ke letlalo.

A lion's inheritance is the skin.

The lion's skin is never cheap. (There is nothing like leather.)

58. Bosigo ga bo akele ope.

Darkness gossips about no one.

I have night's cloak to hide me from their sight.

59. Bosigo ga bo na bosigonyana.

Darkness has no diminutive of darkness.

Handle nothing by candle light, for by candle light a goat is like a gentlewoman.

60. Do.

Do.

Fallaci nimium ne crede lucernae. (L.)

61. Botlhale bo bolaile mongoa jone.

Wisdom killed the wise man.

From ignorance our comfort flows;
The only wretched are the wise.

62. Botlhale ga bona ntlo ea jone.

Wisdom has no dwelling house of its own.

Science and religion know no territory.

63. Botlhoko bo bonako go tsena, bo bonya bo coa.

Disease is quick in coming but slow in departing.

(a) Agues come on horseback and go away on foot.
(b) Tout mal arrive avec des ailes, et s'en retourne en boitant. (F.)

SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

64. Choana puleng dia raga – (jaka: Nare tsa Gabane).

In rainy weather dark (maidens) kick.

Beware of the forepart of a woman as the hind part of a mule.

65. Choene eo o bobooa bo ntlha oa ikilela.

A monkey with prickly hair defends itself against all approaches.

Every genius is defended from approach by quantities of unavailableness.

66. Choene ga ipone mariba.

A monkey doesn't see its own hollow eyes.

(a) The eye that sees all things else, sees not itself.
(b) Ein Esel schimpft den andern Langohr. (G.)
(c) Un laid visage ne paraît pas a celui qui la porte. (F.)

67. Choeu ga di coane, ncho cone pia coana.

Whites never fall out, only blacks do.

It's an ill bird that fouls its own nest.

68. Choeu tsa ga Ra-Ntlatlana, marakalala letsibogong.

The whites of R. they waylay you at the drift (said in praise of Boers in war times).

 

69. Cholofelo ga e tlhabise ditlhong.

Expectation (hope) causes no shame.

(a) To expect, to expect, is worth 400 drachms.
(b) L'espérance est le songe d'un homme éveillé. (F.)

70. Cholo go diteoa je le fa.

A chief always beat the forces that are present.

The absent one will not be the heir – or:
On touche toujours sur le cheval qui tire. (F.)

SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

71. Choshoane e kile ea roma tlou.

An ant once made an errand boy of an elephant (thus a young person may send an old man).

See: Gatoe choshoane.

72. Chukudu ea ga ka! (go bua kala).

My rhinoceros! Quoth the “rhino bird”.

Ego et rex meus. (L.)

73. Chukudu e feta maroana, pounama di botlhoko.

When a rhinoceros passes by the mimosa woods, depend upon it its jaws are sore.

Hunger fetches the wolf out of the woods.
(N.B. In the vernacular, it is over-eating that fetches the rhinoceros out.)

74. Chukudu e senang ngoana e ikisa mokgobeng.

The rhinoceros which has no calves betakes itself to the muddy lake.

There is not so much comfort in having children as there is sorrow in parting with them. (Con.)

75. Chukudu e tona ga e ke e eteleloa ke e namagadi pele.

The male rhinoceros is never preceded by the female.

When woman reigns the devil governs.

76. Chukudu ga e ke e coa sekgoeng fela, ea bo e utluile botlhoko.

The rhinoceros never leaves the forest without it has been hurt.

When the hound's in the green wood, the hind keeps the hill.

77. Chukudi, ko gobe e isioa. Ke ngoana.

The rhinoceros is led to trouble by its calf.

The birth of a child is the imprisonment of a soul.

78. Coga, u le gatetse!

Cheer up! You have turned the corner.

It is a long lane that has no turning.

79. Dia tle di ragoge sentle, pheleco ea cone losho.

They always start well but the upshot is (often) chaotic.

(a) Acribus initiis, incurioso fine. (L.)(b) Aller Anfang ist heiter. (G.)

80. Dibaga di tloga baapari di ea bafololeding.

Necklaces depart from their wearers and go to the workers.

Tottenham is turned French.

SECHUANA PROVERB

LITERAL TRANSLATION

EUROPEAN EQUIVALENT

81. Dibana se-pele ga se ikangoe.

The fountain ahead is not to be trusted.

Water afar will not quench fire at hand.

82. Dichoang-choang, di ea thoteng di bapile.

“As like as likes,” side by side they proceed to the hill.

(a) Six of one and half a dozen of the other.
(b) Gleich und Gleich. (G.)

83. Di coa baaparing di ea bafololeding.

The robes proceed from the wearers to the weavers.

Klaas is baas en die Baas is Klaas. (D.)

84. Digoana tsa basadi, thabisa digogo.

Women's gourds (of beer) will gladden the morose.

Glasses and lasses are brittle ware.

85. Digole ga di tshegoe, bonnaka.

The infirm are not to be derided.

Deride not any man's infirmities.

86. Di-ja-mmogo dia itsanye.

Comrades in plunder know each other.

A thief knows a thief, as a wolf knows a wolf.

87. Dika u kgatlhe ga e itsioe.

We never know what is going to happen.

Wer weiss, was in der Zeiten Hintergrunde schlummert. (G.)

88. Dikgaga di remana ka matlape.

The strife is at its highest.

 

89. Dikgomo tshesebe tsa o salang, di tlolegoa too.

Meaning not clear.

 

90. Dikhutsana re bo phomela gotlhe, re lema lopetleke.

We commoners rush in anywhere and plough over wide fields.

(a) Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
(b) Ich heisse der reichste Mann in der getauften Welt:
Die Sonne geht in meinem Staat nicht unter. (G.)


Footnotes & References

#NoteDescription
1ThariThari” (used by Bechuana mothers for carrying babies behind their backs) is a skin with strips at the four corners or strapping round the waist, etc.
2Ma-Masiloanoke, one rainy night, accommodated so many people in her hut that she had to sleep outside, and during the night she was killed by the rain-storm.