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Site Last Update: 12 Nov, 2019
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African Proverb of the Month
October, 2006

Umtajiri ntagira umsozi. (Shubi)

Mtajiri hana mlima. (Swahili)

A rich person does not have a mountain. (Literal English Translation)

A rich person does not have to struggle, that is, share the problems of ordinary people. (Figurative English Translation)

Shubi (Tanzania) Proverb

Background, Explanation, Meaning and Everyday Use

If you are rich you seem to be protected from the many ordinary problems that are the lot of the majority of your companions. But then you will easily use your money for bribes and corruption in order to reach your dreams. So it is very difficult for a rich person to remain honest.

The first President of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere, was an exception. Contrary to the majority of his collaborators, he had the courage to remain a man who was really "poor in spirit" despite his high position.

Biblical Parallels


Jesus said: "You cannot serve God and wealth" (Matthew 6:24).


See the "Story of the Dishonest Manager" (Luke 16:8).

Contemporary Use and Religious Application

The news media are full of examples of leaders who use their social and political positions and power for financial gain, even by democratic means. Then they stay on top by bribes and other strategies.


NOTE: See No. 14 in the Select Bibliography on this website. Proverb No. 7 in 198 Proverbs of Shubi Language. Endangered African Proverbs: A Continuation of the African Proverbs Project. Collected and explained by Joseph Nkumbulwa and Rev. Max Tertrais, M.Afr. In conjunction with the Sukuma Research Committee, Bujora, Tanzania. Bujora, Mwanza, Tanzania: privately printed, 2006.

Mr. Joseph Nkumbulwa
c/o Katekista Clementi
Mtaa Butambara,
Nifa Jeneri
S.L.P. 65
Ushirombo, Tanzania

Rev. Max Tertrais, M.Afr.
Kaniha Parish
P.O. Box 896
Uyovu via Kahama, Tanzania


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