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Site Last Update: 12 Dec, 2019
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Endangered African Proverbs Collections: Ngoreme (Tanzania) Proverbs
One of the follow-ups to the African Proverbs Project (1993-1996) is the collection of African proverbs in languages that are small, not well known or in danger of dying out. These are called "Endangered African Proverbs Collections." A modest collection of proverbs and other types of African oral literature in these languages is being carried out through our four Regional Resource Centers in Africa. The most recent example:

A "Collection of 10 Ngoreme (Tanzania) Proverbs, 1 Song and 2 Stories" has just been carried out under the direction of the Hekima College Library in Nairobi, Kenya, the Regional Resource Center in Eastern Africa. Ngoreme is a language that is not well known. The plan of this collection of 10 Ngoreme proverbs is as follows:

1. Original proverb from the Ngoreme language.

2. Literal Swahili translation.

3. Literal English translation.

4. Figurative Swahili translation.

5. Figurative English translation.

6. Explanation.

7. Biblical Parallels.

8. Use.

The plan of this collection of 1 Ngoreme Song and 2 Stories is as follows:

1. Title of the original song or story from the Ngoreme language.

2. Swahili translation.

3. English translation.

4. Explanation.

5. Biblical Parallels.

6. Use.

Some examples are:

1.    Ngoreme Proverb:

Utamirhe ya mokorho, urhagenda bwirhe. (Ngoreme)
Kama ukikataa la mkubwa utatembea kutwa nzima. (Swahili)
If you refuse the elder's advice you will walk the whole day. (English)

Further explanation of this proverb can be found in the "African Proverb of the Month" for March, 2000 on the African Proverbs, Sayings and Stories Website (

2.    The song is called The Child's Relatives Have Arrived. The Biblical Parallel is the birth of Jesus Christ in Matthew 2. For an application to the African Celebration of Christmas see pages 96 -97 in Towards An African Narrative Theology.

3.    The first story is called The Volatile Hunter Caused God And the Sky To Move Up Into the Atmosphere. The Biblical Parallel is the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. For a further explanation of this Ngoreme Creation Myth see pages 63-64 in Towards An African Narrative Theology.

4.    The second story is called The Young Hero Killed the Monster Thus Saving His Family. The Biblical Parallel is the story of Jesus Christ, our savior and king (see Luke 2 and Philippians 2). For a Sukuma (Tanzania) story of a young hero and a monster see The Myth of Masala Kulangwa and the Monster Shing'weng'we on the "Bibliography Page" under "Resources."


The "Front Page" of this booklet of 10 Ngoreme (Tanzania) Proverbs, 1 Song and 2 Stories is printed below:

Endangered African Proverbs Collections
A Continuation of the African Proverbs Project

Collection of 10 Ngoreme (Tanzania)
Proverbs, 1 Song and 2 Stories


Northwestern Tanzania Near Lake Victoria and the Serengeti National Park

Collected and Explained by Petro S. Makuru

With the help of Dr. Deogratias Mwita (Deputy Minister for Local Government and Regional Administration) and Mr. Christopher Elkington (News Editor of the Sunday Observer and Financial Times)

June, 2000


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