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Site Last Update: 24 Feb, 2020
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African Proverb of the Month
November, 2004

Fitia mifamaly maha-tsara fihavanana. (Malagasy)
Donner est mieux que de recevoir. (French)
Afadhali kutoa kuliko kupokea. (Swahili)
It's better to give than to receive. (English)

Malagasy (Madagascar) Proverb

Background, Explanation, Meaning and Everyday Use


This is a very common world wide proverb that is very popular and frequently used in Madagascar in both everyday situations and in religious situations. This Malagasy proverb expresses a core human value and a very deep Christian value. It is often used in religious teaching.

Biblical Parallels

Acts 20:35: “In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "

Matthew 20:28: “Just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Contemporary Use and Religious Application

In a world that emphasizes “What am I going to get out of it” and “What’s in it for me,” this Malagasy proverb challenges us to reach out to others especially the poorest and neediest.

Sarah Haas
Joffreville, Madagascar

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