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Tanzanian proverbs about keeping on going

Particularly among university students, there is a desire for self-, life-, and nation-improvement. Sometimes that can feel very overwhelming, whether it’s in the pressures of exams or the bigger picture of being one person trying to make a difference in their nation. These proverbs seem particularly relevant.

Haba na haba hujaza kibaba – Little and little fills the measure.

It’s easy to despise small contributions but they all add up. This is encouragement for people who feel they have only a little to give.

Hakuna refu lisilo na ncha – There is no length without an end.

In English we might say ‘this too shall pass’.

Kenda karibu na kumi – Nine is close to ten.

This proverb is used to encourage someone to endure their problems or doubts and not turn back. If they just keep going for a little while longer, they will get nearer the end.

Kupotea njia ndiko kujua njia – To get lost on the way is to know the way.

Don’t be scared to worried to ‘try, try and try again’. If you make a mistake, tomorrow you will improve. Try different ways until you get where you want to go.

Lililopita hupishwa – What’s past is past.

What’s done is done. There’s not point constantly bringing to mind things that have already happened. Don’t live in the past.

Categories: Tanzania Written by Tamie

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Tamie Davis

Tamie Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at

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