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Swahili sayings

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The Swahili language is rich in imagary; and there are some sayings I have come across which relate to the environment, and which I am starting to use when discussing environmental issues in communities. Getting to know a language is so much more than just getting to know words and grammar. I am sharing my favourites here and I hope you like them – if you have more, please share in the comments (likewise any corrections to the translations) and I will update the list!

Kitunze kidumu

Protect for sustainability

Chovya, chovya, humaliza buyu ya asali

Dip by dip, you finish the gourd of honey

Tembea ujionee

Walk around so you can see for yourself

Avumae baharini papa, lakini wengine wamo

The shark is best-known in the sea, but there are many others

Tunza mikoko ikuhifadhi na majanga

Protecting mangroves can protect you from disasters

Kata mti, panda miti

Cut a tree, plant a tree (or trees!)

Tunza mazingira yakutunze

Protecting the environment will protect you

Mazingira ni uhai

Environment is life


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