Today is World Water Day, which is celebrated every year on 22nd March. Dealing with limited water resources is a daily problem for people in Africa, including the Hausa people. “Water” (“ruwa”) is also found as a topic or symbol in numerous proverbs. Here are just a few (found in proverbs collections like A.H.M. Kirk-Greene 1966: Hausa ba dabo ba ne. A collection of 500 proverbs and Whitting, C.E.J. 1940. Hausa and Fulani Proverbs):
A dubi ruwa a dubi tsaki.
Lit. Look at the water, look at the sediment.
Not all that glitters is gold.
Ba baƙo ruwa ka sha labari.
Give a stranger a drink and you will hear (lit. drink) the news.
Kifi a ruwa sarki ne.
Lit. A fish is a king in the water.
A man can do what he likes in his own house.
Kome zurfin ruwa, da yashi a ciki.
Lit. However deep the water, there’s always sand in it.
There is an end to all things.
Sai ruwa ya yi yawa a kan ba doki.
Only when there is plenty of water do you give it to a horse.