3 African Proverbs to Live By

By Gogo Thule Ngane

Guest writer for Wake Up World

My culture has nourished me in ways I could have never imagined. The wisdom that my family and ancestors carry has brought me to where I am today. When I look back at my life thus far as an African child growing and living in America, an array of emotions come to me, from laughter to tears. The more I journey into the wisdom that we hold from ancient times to modern day, the more empowered and strong I feel in my walk in this life.

I’d like to share some of the wisdom that continues to nourishes me.

“A man is taller than every mountain he climbs.”

You are greater than any problem that you will face. You hold the potential to meet all that challenges you. It is a matter of trusting yourself and all that you carry within and with you. You are tall because you are greater than this physical body and this personality you’ve created or known. You are tall because you walk on the the shoulders of many who have come before you. As Linda Hogan eloquently put it “you are the result of the love of thousands.” My culture teaches me that my ancestors are still alive and routing for me, guiding me in spirit.

There have been moments when wisdom has flown out from my mouth but seemingly not from me. When light bulbs in my mind bring solutions to the problems I’m faced with. When I acted in courage, standing up for others, instantly without a thought or fear of consequences. Warriors, healers, ancient grandmothers, kings, queens and many others walk with each and every one of us. There is infinite wisdom and strength accessible to us at any time, much greater than any mountain we will climb.

“To get lost is to learn the way.”

I have been lost at times in my life and unfortunately I can’t blame the GPS for all of it. I admit that I have felt bad for being lost because modern day life often makes it seem like we should have it all figured out or together. However it is through being very lost that I was open enough to gain and receive purpose, healing, and wisdom. If I had tried to fill the lost moments and wholes with just any ‘ol thing I could find, I would of missed out on many lessons and a whole lot of meaningful experiences that allowed me to walk strong and purposefully today.

Those that have dedicated their lives to following the wisdom within have appeared lost at times. They’re nomads, their non-conformists, at times they are  20-somethings, or Shepard boys enchanted by lost treasures. Being lost allows you to travel the unpaved road, its challenges you, and forces you to face your fears and deeply look at all that you are honestly. It’s okay to be lost, in fact it’s been my way to a meaningful life aligned with my highest self. I live free when I accept where I am now while not having it all figured out.

“I am because you are.”

What would a post about african proverbs be with out honoring community! “I am because you are” is my interpretation of  the South African philosophy of ubuntu, which Desmond Tutu explains “Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can’t exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself.”

It can be very easy for us to disconnect, separate, and dishonor our undeniable connection to one another when we make judgments about each others actions and/or choose to not understand one another. We say that we just can’t understand how someone could do what ever it is we’ve deemed bad, we don’t allow ourselves to relate, we deny that parts of ourselves that are fully capable of committing the same or very similar acts, but most importantly we can’t understand where they are and thus can’t see from what place they can heal or are healing.

Ubuntu is humbling. Ubuntu brings us back to earth, back to humanity, and allows us to know and express compassion.

I am living from a place of gratitude for being able to walk tall, supported, lost and humble as I journey deeper and live my life more authentically and creatively. I am slowly but surely living unafraid to be who I am and welcome all that life has for me as I co-create.

Also by Gogo Thule:

About the author:

Gogo Thule Ngane is a Sangoma Traditional Healer, Priestess, and Medicine Woman. She is guided by the Amadlozi, Elevated Ancestors of her lineage. Her work includes divination, traditional healing, and leads workshops, ceremonies, and retreats on ancient African healing and spirituality. She is devoted to awakening ancestral wisdom on the earth.

Journey with her at: 


If you've found value in our articles, we invite you to support the release of our brand-new book, "Gratitude Practices for Kids: A Practical Guide for Adults to Instill a Spirit of Appreciation and Positivity in the Next Generation."

"Gratitude Practices for Kids" brings together over 25 innovative and accessible practices designed to enhance gratitude in everyday life. This comprehensive guide is backed by 17 scientific studies, ensuring each concept is grounded in research, underscoring our commitment to nurturing growth, emotional intelligence, and positive interactions between adults and children.

We encourage you to opt for the paperback version to celebrate this new release. Dive into its fresh pages away from digital distractions, allowing you to immerse yourself in the transformative practices it offers.

Over recent years, Wake Up World has faced significant online censorship, which has impacted our financial ability to operate. Moving into book publishing represents a strategic step to secure the ongoing funds needed to continue our mission. By purchasing Gratitude for Kids, you help us keep our content free and accessible to everyone, avoiding needing a paywall. With over 8,500 articles published in the last 13 years, we remain dedicated to keeping our valuable content open to all.