Idiom: Rintiho rin’we a ri nusi hove.
Literal meaning: One finger can’t pick up a grain.
In other words: You need to work together to accomplish things.
U nga teki mali u bohela enengeni wa mpfuvu.
Don’t tie money to a hippo’s leg.
Don’t lend your money to people who won’t pay you back.
U nga dlayi nyoka u yi ndzuluta, ta micele ta ku vona.
Don’t kill a snake and swing it around, the hidden snakes are watching you.
Don’t do unnecessary bad things to someone, because other people are watching you.
N’wana wa nyoka i nyoka.
The child of a snake is a snake.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Mbuti ya xihaha a yi tswaleli entlhambini.
A secretive goat does not give birth in a midst.
If you want to keep a secret, don’t tell many people.
Matimba ya ngwenya i mati.
The strength of a crocodile is the water.
A person is strong when supported by their people.
N’wana wo kala a nga rili u ta fela adzobyeni.
A child who does not cry will die unnoticed at the back of his mother.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
Mbuti yi dya laha yi nga bohiwa kona.
A goat eats where it is tied.
You must use the resources you have at hand.
Ku tlula ka mhala ku letela n’wana wa le ndzeni.
The way an impala jumps influences its unborn child.
A mother’s behavior affects how her child will be.
Nomu a wu taleriwi hi nambu.
A mouth can cross any river.
Easier said than done.
Xandla famba, xandla vuya.
The hand goes, the hand returns.
A giving hand is a receiving hand.
Mbyana loko yi lava ku ku luma ya n’wayitela.
When a dog wants to bite you, it smiles.
Even a smiling person can have bad intentions towards you.
Vana va munhu va tsemelana nhloko ya njiya.
Siblings share the head of a locust.
Siblings must share good things.
Tolo a nga ha vuyi.
Yesterday will not come back.
Tinghala timbirhi ta chavana.
Two lions fear each other.
Powerful people/nations fear each other.
Timpfuvu timbirhi a ti tshami xidziveni xin’we
Two hippos cannot stay in the same deep water.
“This place ain’t big enough for the both of us.”
Vuhosi a byi peli nambu. /// Xisola hosi xi sola xi sukile.
Chiefdom does not cross the river. /// A person undermines the king only when (s)he has left the kingdom
Two sayings expressing that a chief or king’s authority is local.
Ku tshwa nomo.
To have a burnt mouth.
Referring to someone who constantly lies.
Ximitantsengele xi tshemba nkolo
He who swallows a large stone has confidence in the size of his throat
When you start something you must have the courage to complete it.
Mutlhontlhi wa tinyarhi ti vuya hi yena
When a person challenges buffalo, they will chase him.
If you provoke other people, you will face the consequences.
Loko u tsundzuka mhelembe khandziya ensinyeni
When you think of a rhino, climb a tree.
When you think of something, act immediately.
Ku ba ndlopfu hi xibakele.
To hit an elephant with a fist.
A futile effort.
Tinhlanga ta le ndzhaku ti tiviwa hi mutlhaveri wa tona.
Tattooing marks made on the back are known by the tattooer (not by the tattooed.)
You do not know what may happen when you have turned your back.
Xihlovo a xi dungiwi loko u heta ku nwa mati
Do not close the well after having drunk.
Don’t burn your bridges.
U nga sahi nsinya hi vuxika, u ta tshwa hi mumu hi malanga
Do not cut the tree in winter, you will burn by sun in summer.
Mhunti yi biwa ya ha ri na mahika
An antelope is killed while it is sighing
Don’t spend time worrying over a problem rather than acting.
Xirhami xi vuyisa na n’wana evukatini
The cold which makes a girl return to her parent’s home from her husband’s home.
Very cold weather.