Of Tsumo: Shona Proverbs

Tsumo is a proverb in the Shona language Zimbabwe. Tsumo expressions are wise sayings used to drive a point, teach morals, warn and inspire. While the meaning of some of the proverbs can be understood literally the interpretations reveal deep wisdom.


•Kutsva kwendebvu varume vanodzimurana

Literal Translation: When beards burn, men will douse each other out
Meaning: There comes a situation when we need help from other people.
No man is an island

•Rine manyanga hariputirwi mumushunje

Literal Translation: That which has horns cannot be concealed in a bundle of grass
Meaning: What is hidden will one day be revealed
Truth will prevail

•Kandiro kanoenda kunobva kamwe

Literal translation: A plate will go where another plate has come from
Meaning: One is likely to get favour returned from those one has favoured
One good turn deserves another

•Mapudzi anowira kune vasina hari

Literal Translation: Squashes fall to those who have no clay pots
Meaning: Opportunities go to those who cannot utilize them
Fortune favours fools

•Murombo haarovi chine nguo

Literal Translation: A poor man never hunts and kills anything with skin (large enough to be worn)
Meaning: Fate can condemn a man to never rise above his station
Misfortunes never comes singly



  1. These are really interesting!
    I’ve noticed that so many posts I have gone through have at least 1 proverb that has something to do with helping each other. I’m so happy it’s a part of who we are. Ubuntu.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Its not surprising since proverbs were supposed to be a way of passing down our Afrikan ideals such as unity of purpose, not forgetting where we come from, importance of heeding advice and just be decent people.


      1. Hi Linda, did you see the audio embedded at the bottom?
        I added it later on after a few other people reached out asking.


    1. I have been meaning to add audio for my blog since the first time I discovered podcasts just that WP did not support the feature but now that I know they can, my next poetry post is going to be lit!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey now!!! You’re leadership 🙌🏾
        I wanna try it too sometime, perhaps I’ll come back to yesterday’s and add an audio too for starters

        Looking forward to that poetry post😁

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Is that your voice that we hear? If so, then you don’t sound like I thought you would. I expected you to have a deeper voice.

    Those are some funny (but true) proverbs. Thanks for sharing!

    I think it’s a great idea to add an audio recording of the post. Maybe post it at the top so people can choose? Just an idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha in my head I dont sound like that either, does listening to your recorded voice make you want to apologise to everyone you have ever talked to?No? Just me hahahaha

      Well, the proverbs were usually derived from observations of everyday life so there’s some literal truth to them.

      I added the audio some time after publication of the post and was facing some technical difficulties with the embed feature as it refused to play the correct feed a couple of times so I hadnt wanted a glitchy block as the first thing into the post.

      I have always wished I could embed an audio feed to some of my blog posts especially poetry and short stories but the podcast embed feature wasnt available until recently so am still figuring out the best way to do it as the audio has to be hosted somewhere else since one cant upload directly to site, unless on premium subscription.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right? Something about how you hear yourself subjected to bone conduction giving you some resonance, I think I rewad somewhere that you might probably not be able to recognise your disembodied voice played back to you if you didnt know it was you… just like how if you met your dopplegenger you might probably not immediately pick it up unless someone else pointed it out.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Quite interesting, I love the literal translations as well. How about making it a book/Pdf and putting it o. Amazon?

    Liked by 1 person

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