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Kalenjin Proverbs and Riddles (Plus their Meanings)

The Kalenjin people of Kenya have a rich cultural heritage, including a tradition of proverbs and riddles that are used to convey wisdom, values, and life lessons.

These proverbs and riddles often use clever wordplay and figurative language to make their point, making them both entertaining and educational.

Here is a collection of some of the most popular Kalenjin proverbs and riddles, along with brief explanations of their meanings:

Kalenjin Proverbs

  • Ameiku kiptoben kuto’ – Seize opportunities as they arise to avoid any future regrets.
  • ‘Chepkisas kotatun kechome’ – The once despised will become likable in time.
  • ‘Aechin iwot ak kemei’ – The impacts of drought and flood seasons neutralize each other.
  • ‘Aechin kibananoi ak kipkunyuk’ – All careers are valued equally in society.
  • ‘Amei chitugul kitab kuiyandanyin’ – Toil and sweat must yield fruit that is savored by the person.
  • Ameior konda’ – Attempt before deeming something as difficult.
  • ‘Kiseten tai ak katam’ – Utilize all means to achieve desired outcomes.
  • ‘Kibegunen nyagan ter’ – Address issues early for better chances of success.
  • ‘Amat korobon ole imi’ – Stay alert and work hard to maintain your position.
  • ‘Mabenen beit tororon’ – Suffering is temporary, hence one should never lose hope.
  • ‘Kibendi ban chepkokoch’ – It’s good to proceed with caution and certainty in life.
  • ‘Kibendi mutyo machei kel’ – Humility is a valuable trait.
  • ‘Bitos suswek en olekakiyenkyi aran’ – Those in environments where good things are shared will always benefit.
  • ‘Kibire mat kolo’ – It’s good to proceed with caution and certainty in life.
  • ‘Chukipo chepitoch, amolin amoli’ – Focus on mastering one trade rather than being a master of none.
  • ‘Kerkee kapkaulio ak kakimori’ – Generous people are no different from those who are selfish.
  • ‘Kigeitoi chei bo aran kotatun koyam boriet ak oret’ – A wise person can turn limited resources into ample benefits for others.
  • ‘Maechin ainosiek’ – People never have equal resources.
  • ‘Mobenyege bondet ak muren’ – The most effective cure for a particular ailment is widely known.
  • ‘Kergee tich ak akwot’ – The value of good things is consistent wherever they may be found.
  • ‘Kiame ngui kotakai kongetyi olemi bany’ – Encouraging a poor person to work hard and be patient until they become wealthy.
  • ‘Matinye kapkirwok chaman’ – Lovebirds don’t take each other to court.
  • ‘Maging’ete munyas nerue’ – Let sleeping dogs lie
  • ‘Ichabaito teta akotinye kelyek ang’wan’ – A cow slips yet it has 4 legs ; Meaning we all make mistakes. No one is immune to faults.
  • ‘Ingete kimereng’ mindet’ – One word leads to another. A story lead to another.

Kalenjin Riddles

  • Nee nekoi akotinye konyek? ( Ndaret) – What is long and has eyes? (Snake)
  • Nee netinye keliek ago mowendati? ( Meset) – What has legs but cannot walk? (Table)
  • Tinyei saruryet ak matinye borto – What has a tail but no body? (Coin)
  • Nee newoo, tinye kebebaik ako matirireni? ( Mbunit) – What is big, has feathers and cannot fly? (Ostrich)
  • Nee neming’in ako ngweng’ akowalawalekei? ( Kalyang’ay) – What is small and fast, always changing direction? (Fly)
  • Nee neming’in, tinye kebebaik, akotirireni kemoi? (Reresiet) – What is small and has wings, but can only fly at night? (Bat)
  • Nee nekoi, agotinye makatet akowendati kityok? ( Ainet) – What is long, has a skin and is always moving? (River)
  • Nee netinye katit amatinye metit? ( Chuboit) – What has a neck but no head? (Bottle)
  • Nee netinye sautit ako mong’alali? ( Kinandokab tiendo) – What has a voice but cannot speak? (Music Instrument)
  • Nee nelapato kityok ak mawendati? ( Beek) – What is always running but never walks? (Water)
  • Nee ne nerechi kityok akwamisie kitiok? ( Maat) – What is always hungry and always eats? (Fire)
  • Nee nechaktoi, tinye makatet akowalawalikei? ( Boldet) – What is always moving, has a skin and is always changing its shape? (Cloud)
  • Nee netinye tokoch amatinye konyek. Kutit ak seriut? ( Sait) – What has a face but no eyes, mouth or nose? (Clock)
  • Nee netinye bor neoo, kelyek ang’wan ak saruriet? ( Ng’etundo) – What is big, has four legs and a tail? (Lion)

These proverbs and riddles are just a small sample of the rich cultural heritage of the Kalenjin people of Kenya.

 They provide insight into the values, beliefs, and sense of humor of the Kalenjin people, and they offer a glimpse into their daily lives and the challenges they face.

Whether used for entertainment or education, these proverbs and riddles are an important part of Kalenjin culture and a valuable tool for understanding and appreciating the wisdom and heritage of this vibrant community.


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