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Gutiri ita ithiagwwo na gitete kia njohi no gia ucuru Literal translation: This gruel is supposed to be highly nourishing and therefore suitable for long journeys or hard fighting; while the sugar-cane beer by inebriating the warriors makes them weak and easy prey to the enemy.

Out of temperance comes strength. Gutiri mbura itari na gitonga kiayo Literal translation: There is no rain which does not enrich someone. It is an ill wind that blows nobody good. Gutiri mucii uri kahii utakarugwo mutwe Literal translation: In every family where there is a son, the head of an ox, goat or ram is cooked to be eaten by him with his friends.

They use the proverb oroverbs mean that ordinarily a son gives his parent more trouble than a daughter, or that in every family parents do not lack troubles. There is a black sheep in every family. Gutiri muici na mucuthiriria Literal translation: There is no difference between the thief and the looker-on. Gutiri muki urehage urugari Literal translation: Nobody entering a hut pays for the heart he will enjoy in 100. Only the owner of the hut had the drudgery of carrying home the firewood; the visitor does not know the cost of the fire he is enjoying.

Metaphorically the proverb is used to say that he who enters a house cannot realise the troubles of the occupants. Gutiri mundu ui haria eguthii no haria ekuuma Literal translation: Nobody knows where he goes, but only whence he comes. No one can see into the future. Gutiri mundu wendaga gutungana na nyoni njuru Literal translation: Nobody wants to meet an ill-omened bird. To the Kikuyu many birds proverbe calamity.

The cry of the owl forebodes mishap. If the owl cries, perched on the top of a hut, the oldest man in that village will die very soon. If someone, about to make a journey, hears the cry of any bird of ill- omen, he must not start on any account. Nobody seeks his own ruin. Gutiri mundu utangituika wa ndigwa Literal translation: There is no man that cannot become an orphan. No flying from fate. Gutiri mundu wonaga wega wake, no kuonwo wonagwo Literal translation: Nobody can kikhyu his peoverbs goodness: Gutiri murio utainagia ruthia Literal translation: The Kikuyu consider the oikuyu trembling an expression of joy.


A little pleasure is nertheless a pleasure.

1, Kikuyu proverbs : with translations and English equivalents – Ghent University Library

Gutiri muthenya ukiaga ta ungi Literal translation: No day dawns like another. Every day brings a new light. Gutiri mutumia wenjagirwo mbui kwa nyina Literal translation: No married woman will have her white hair shaved at her mother’s. The Kikuyu girls go around with bald heads which they get periodically shaved by their relations. So the woman, who by being married has left her house and relations, will never be shaved at her mother’s.

Once sold, ever sold. Gutiri mwana ungitema agitemera ithe Literal translation: The proverhs does not cut his finger in cutting meat for his father.

Sons are stingier than their parents. Gutiri ngware itari muhuririe wayo Literal translation: There is no partridge which does not know its own way of scratching. As many methods as men. Gutiri ngware nyinyi mahuririo- ini Literal translation: No partridge is small when it claws the soil. Every one can do great good or evil according to his possibilities.

Gutiri ki,uyu irumaga imera igiri Literal translation: No prepotent man will insult other people for two consecutive seasons. Prepotence comes quickly to an end. Gutiri nyama na ngirinyu Literal translation: Meat has no choice morsel. When distributing the meat or anything else one must not favour any one person.

Gutiri nyoni njega mwere-ini Literal translation: There is no nice bird in the millet. Millet is one of the staple crops of the Kikuyu. They protect it from birds by building pulpit-like huts in which boys or women stand to frighten them whilst the harvest is ripening. Even sugar itself may spoil a good dish. Gutiri uciaragwo ari mugi Literal translation: Nobody is born wise.


Gutiri ucokaga haria arumiirwo kaara Literal translation: Nobody returns where he got his finger bitten. Once bitten twice shy. Gutiri uikagia itimu atari na haria akuratha Literal translation: Nobody throws a lance if he has no target.

There is a reason for everything. Gutiri ukinyaga mukinyire wa ungi Literal translation: Every man in his way. Gutiri undu utari kihumo Literal translation: There is nothing without a cause.

1,000 Kikuyu proverbs : with translations and English equivalents

All things have a beginning. Gutiri uriragio ni ukia wene Literal translation: Nobody grumbles at being rich, all at proverns poor. Gutiri uriragio ni utonga no ukia Literal translation: Gutiri uriru utonwo Literal translation: There is no mischance you are guaranteed against.

Gutiri uru utuuraga, no wega utuuraga Literal translation: No evil, but only the good will last. Good deeds remain, all things else perish. Gutiri uta utari nyama Literal translation: There is no bow without its meat.

God helps those who help themselves. Gutiri ritwa ritakuria mwana Literal translation: There is no name which cannot distinguish a child. Every bird is known by its feathers.

Kikuyu proverbs : with translations and English equivalents – Catalog – UW-Madison Libraries

Gutiri thingira uciraga ta ungi Literal translation: There is no location which discusses its affairs in the same way as the other does. Gutiri uthuire tiga akiaga Literal translation: A man is poor not because he scorns possessions, but because he possesses nothing. Sour grapes, as the fox said when he could not reach them. Gutiri wa nda na wa mugongo Literal translation: There is not the son of the front and the son of the back.

The Kikuyu mothers carry a baby on the back if they have only one. If they have two, one is carried in front and the other one on the back. Of course the one carried near the breasts can suck oftener than the other.