Ashanti Proverbs in Jamaica Pt.1

Who Jamaicans commonly know as Ashanti, belong to the Akan tribe and these are the proverbs we inherited from our warrior ancestors, the Ashanti and their Akan counterparts. Along with a vast array of proverbs came Ananse stories.
A list of Jamaican Proverbs of Akan origins
Akan: “Fowls will not spare a cockroach that falls in their midst.”(Source)
Jamaican: “No matter how drunk the cockroach becomes, he never makes the mistake of walking past the yard of the fowl.(Source)

common meaning: Self preservation is key to human survival

Akan: “Nsatea baako nkura adesoa.” (One finger cannot pick up a heavy load)(Source)
Jamaican: “Wan finga cya kill louse.” (Source)

common meaning: Strength in unity

Akan: “Nsako na nsa aba.” (Hand go, Hand comes)(Source)
Jamaican: “Han’ guh, paki(or hand) come.” (Hand go, calabash comes)

common meaning: Help your neighbour and they will help you in return

Akan: “Kerema ne esee ko” (Tongue and teeth fight)
Jamaican: “Tung an teet meet”

common meaning: a saying when family, friends or loved ones are in a quarrel


Akan: Woto wo bo ase gua (dwa) ntetea a, wohu ne nsono. (If you crush an ant, you will see it’s guts)
Jamaican: If yu nuh mash ants, yuh nah guh si ‘im guts (If you don’t mash an ant, you won’t see his guts) (Source)

common meaning: Patience is key

Picture of the Jamaican flag (known in Ghana as the Adinkra, Mframadan) and the Asante national flag.
Picture of the Jamaican flag (known in Ghana as the Adinkra, Mframadan) and the Asante national flag.

Akan: “Enne ye medea okyina nso ye wo dee.”(Today is mine, tomorrow is yours)(Source)

Jamaican: “Tiddeh fi mi tomorra fi yuh.(Source)

common meaning: One day you have a victory and the next day someone else will

Jamaican proverb: No matter how much a cockroach gets drunk, he’ll never go to the fowl’s yard. (Jamaican sayings: with notes on folklore, aesthetics, and social control: By G. Llewellyn Watson)*

Ashanti proverb: When the cock gets drunk, he never forgets about the hawk. (Ashanti proverbs by Rattray, R. S. (Robert Sutherland), 1881-1938; Christaller, J. G. (Johann Gottlieb), 1827-1895)**

common meaning: Know your place in life. You fit in where you get it in.

Jamaican proverb: As boastful as a cock-chicken*

Akan proverb: Oh cock, leave off being puffed with pride; after all, your mother was an only shell.*


Jamaican proverb: When the cow’s tail has be cut off, God brushes away the flies.

Akan Proverb: For the animal who does not have a tail, it is God who sweeps his body. (Source)

Jamaican proverb: “Don’t wash the child’s stomach, but wash his back” (Source)

Akan proverb: “when a child is asked to bath, he baths only his stomach”**
common meaning: Give to the parents instead of to the child.