25 Luganda Proverbs (with audio and English translations)

25 Luganda Proverbs (with audio and English translations)

Hey, guys!

If you’ve spent long enough on this site, you’ll be acutely aware of my obsession with foreign language proverbs. There’s just something, I dunno, romantic about reading these sayings in their original language and getting a peek into the mind and culture of a people.

Proverbs, sayings, whatever you want to call them, can also provide valuable insight into how a language is structured. And if that wasn’t enough, learners can inadvertently pick up some pretty useful vocabulary.

So the benefits are vast, hence why I keep indulging in my obsession and searching far and wide for new proverbs to bring to you all.

Today, we’re looking at Luganda proverbs. Luganda, in case you didn’t know, is the official language of Uganda, a country in east Africa.

I’ve included the English translations, of course, though these aren’t literal. Literal translations simply wouldn’t make sense. I have tried to stay as close to the intended meaning as possible, though. So that vocabulary boost I mentioned earlier… you’ll still be able to get it.

There’s also audio for each proverb. Yay! Now you can hear (roughly) how these should sound.

All right, I’ll leave you to it. Enjoy!

Luganda proverbs 1-5

Ebbanja terigendaDebt doesn’t go away on its own
Gwe bakwatira mu kituli nga ye mubbiIf you’re caught in a hole, you’re the thief
Abangi babi kulya but naye ku mirimo balungiA crowd is bad for eating but good for work
Kibi kyo kisinga omulungi owa munnoYour worst is worse than your neighbour’s best
Maddu tigaggwaako mulamuMedicine never runs out while you’re alive (there’s always a solution)

Luganda proverbs 6-10

Nnannyini mulimo takeera kwota muliroThe job owner doesn’t rush to light the fire (be patient)
Ababiri babibira ebigambo, naye abasatu babisattulaTwo steal words, but three break them (two can keep a secret, but three will spill the beans)
K’ezaala k’ekombereraWhat you give birth to is what you kiss (you reap what you sow)
Maaso mabi tegayiwa tuloBad faces don’t sleep (if someone’s up to no good, they’re always watching)
Ebirungi biri walaGood things are far away (hard to get)

Luganda proverbs 11-15

Kwana bangi, weesige batonoSleep among many, but trust a few
Njala evumbulaHunger reveals the truth
Akabimbi akatono kakira ekyosiA small, firm pumpkin is better than a big, hollow one (quality over quantity)
Obukadde buwoomya ki? Wazira matookeWhat tastes sweet in old age? Only bananas
Kappa w’etali, emmese yeekola ebigenyiIn the absence of the cat, the rat does as it pleases (when the cat’s away, the mice will play)

Luganda proverbs 16-20

Mazzi masabe tegaloga nnyontaPrayed-for water won’t quench your thirst (you’ve got to work for what you need)
Bw’ogwa awabi, eyali munno akwerabiraIf you fall on hard times, your friend forgets you
Embizi kato kasigulidde enkulu ekkoleroThe small pig bought the big factory (basically, don’t underestimate the little guy)
Mugagga alina ebibye yeeguyibwaA rich man with his things gets ignored (people don’t care about you when they see you have everything)
Eby’obugagga ddiba – afuluma awalulira gy’aliWealth is like a mat – it rolls out in the direction it wants (you can’t control where wealth goes or ends up. It has its own path)

Luganda proverbs 21-25

Omukazi omulima, azaala emmere; omunafu azaala omuddoA hard-working woman produces food; a lazy one produces weeds
Akabi tikeekisaDanger doesn’t hide itself (you can often see the signs of danger or trouble before it arrives)
Mmere mbi terumya njalaBad food doesn’t stop hunger (when you’re hungry, you’ll eat anything)
Lubuto kyoto – alusennyera enku y’akoowaA stomach is like a fire – it burns through fuel quickly
Ebitabo butiko: obutali bulungi buttaBooks are like mushrooms: the bad ones can kill you

You might also like…