Tag Archives: proverbs

Ranar abota

Today is International Friendship Day. Friendship is a topic in many Hausa proverbs. Here are just a few:

  • Abokin kuka ba a ɓoye masa mutuwa.
  • Abokin cin mushe ba a ɓoye masa wuƙa.
  • Abokin gaɗar bushiya kunkuru.
  • Kowane masaki da abokin burminsa.
  • Talaka ba aboki ba, ko ka so shi, ran buki ka ƙi shi.
  • Sai hali ya yi daidai a kan yi abota.

Write a comment if you know more.


Bukin Ranar Ruwa 2012

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.

Find more “ruwa” proverbs in my Hausa Proverbs collection

Using video to explain proverbs

(via Boston University) In the African Languages Proverbs Project, the Boston University African Studies Center has collected short performances by African theater troupes in their native languages. These languages include Wolof from Senegal, Hausa from Niger, Amharic from Ethiopia, Xhosa and Zulu from South Africa and Swahili from Tanzania. Each performance focuses on one of ten common proverbs and places them within a cultural and social context. These videos are designed for advanced students of the languages and are an invaluable tool for developing language proficiency and cultural competence.

The following video explains the Hausa proverb ‘In ka iya ruwa, ka iya laka?


I have added this and all the other Hausa proverb videos to my Hausa video collection.

A large number of Hausa proverbs can be found in my Hausa proverbs blog.

More on Hausa proverbs can be found on Twitter and Facebook:

Karin Magana — a blog dedicated to Hausa proverbs

A while ago, I published a blogpost on Karin Magana, a blog dedicated to Hausa proverbs. Since then, I have published about 600 proverbs on that blog. I keep adding more proverbs every day.

The extra benefit to what has been published on Hausa proverbs before is that I have added “tags” to all these proverbs. Tags will help you to quickly find all proverbs that contain a certain keyword, e.g. Allah, magana, or mutum.

I have decided to present the proverbs “as is” without translation.  I could add a literal translation, but in most cases I wouldn’t be able to explain the deeper meaning of the proverbs. Let me give you an example: “A bar kaza cikin gashinta!” The literal meaning would be: “One should leave a fowl in its feathers!” – But what does it really mean to a Hausa speaker to use this proverb? Obviously it isn’t just talking about how one should handle chicken. How would you explain this proverb?

I have invited the readers of Karin Magana to send their comments and also to contribute their proverbs. Unfortunately only a few of them have followed my invitation. If you are interested in Hausa proverbs and know a few, feel free to send them. I will publish them and your name will be mentioned among the contributors. If you want to be informed about new proverbs, you could subscribe to Karin Magana’s RSS feed. If you don’t know RSS yet, you can read more about it at the BBC website, in English and in Hausa.

Or else, you could sign up to have updates sent to you by email. Another way is to follow Hausa Online on Twitter or  join my Facebook group on Karin Magana

I hope that you will enjoy reading Hausa proverbs at Karin Magana and I look forward to reading your comments.

New blog: Karin magana

Today I have launched Karin magana, a collection of proverbs in Hausa. Just like Hausa Online, it is a weblog and will be updated whenever I have some time left. In some cases, I will add a translation or some information on how these proverbs are used, but in most case they will be presented “as is” without any further comments.  However, readers are welcome to add their comments to the proverbs: possible uses, translations and any other interesting facts.

With time, I hope that Karin magana will become another Hausa online resource which both Hausa speakers and learners will find helpful. Have a look, tell me how you like it and what could be improved.

Bukin ranar Matasa

Today, 12 August, is International Youth Day. On the BBC Hausa website (Shirin Safe of today), I found the following: “A yau kasashen Duniya ke bukin ranar Matasa ta wannan shekara. Majilissar Dinkin Duniya ce ta ware ranar goma sha biyu na watan Agustan kowacce shekera domin wayar da kan jama’a akan matsaloli da kuma kalubalen da matasa ke fuskanta.”

My wish to all the youth in Africa: May you be able to celebrate this day and contribute to the society in which you live.

Here are a three Hausa proverbs related to youth:

  • Da rarrafe yaro ya kan tashi.
  • Yaro bai san wuta ba sai ta ƙone shi.
  • Yaran zamani tun ba su tafasa ba su kan ƙone.

Which other Hausa proverbs related to youth do you know?