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Wit and Wisdom of Ethiopia

Author: Professor Negussay Ayele


A new book, Wit and Wisdom of Ethiopia, authored by Professor Negussay Ayele was published recently by Tsehai Publishers.  As noted in the Preface, the book represents an endeavor "to share with the outside world the wit and wisdom of Ethiopia which is too good to be kept bottled up in the native language of one land."  Professor Negussay Ayele, who compiled, translated, and edited hundreds of these words of wisdom with Introduction and Annotations, is an a noted academic who has taught for more than twenty five years in Ethiopia and in the United States.  


"With kids things are now serious, now frivolous."

"The center of the earth is where you are right now: if you doubt that, measure it."

"Trying to reach out for what was in the attic, she dropped what she had tucked in her armpit."

The volume at hand … is a modest effort to share with the outside world the wit and wisdom of Ethiopia, which is too good to be kept bottled up in the native language of one land.

Now that Ethiopia is the original locus and habitat of the earliest homonids-homo afarensis/ramidus every human being is in effect an Ethiopian and can therefore proudly claim the heritage of Wit and Wisdom presented in this volume.


“Wit and Wisdom Of Ethiopia has succeeded to express thoughtfully and elegantly the Ethiopian way of thinking. The proverbs encompass all aspects of everyday life and, as a result, the book will prove to be of great interest to Ethiopians and non-Ethiopians alike.” Professor Emeritus Wolf Leslau, UCLA

“Wit and Wisdom of Ethiopia is an all-purpose book of Ethiopian sayings, anecdotes and proverbs. It is exemplary for other Ethiopians to take the time and work on the same line.” Ato Atnafu Tariku

“Wit And Wisdom Of Ethiopia reflects the amazing genius and the wonderful soul of the people of Ethiopia. It is of great value to Ethiopian parents and their children, as well as friends of Ethiopia.” Dr Fikre Tolossa

“Wit and Wisdom of Ethiopia is a singularly important book on the folk wisdom of an ancient people whose gift to humanity is unparalleled. It is a mansion of wisdom with many rooms.” Professor Robert Hill, UCLA

“Wit And Wisdom of Ethiopia is of value not only to non-Amharic reading foreigners but also to thousands of young Ethiopians who have been brought up in the Diaspora.” Ato Asefa Gebremariam Tessema

“Wit and Wisdom of Ethiopia portrays “the Ethiopian gift of lacing one’s conversation with metaphors, proverbs and sayings with enormous wit.” Professor David C. Rapoport, UCLA

Wit and Wisdom of Ethiopia is the first book in English of Amharic Ethiopian proverbs. As such, it is a significant contribution not only to the growing number of books about Ethiopia, but also to the world at large, which can only benefit from knowing Ethiopia and its wit and wisdom better than it does.” Miss Wendy Belcher

“Wit and Wisdom of Ethiopia is a marvel of linguistic adaptation, composed with a glittering literary style and double entendre.” Dr Paulos Milkias, Concordia College

“Wit and Wisdom of Ethiopia is the first work of translation of Ethiopian proverbs to appear in English. It is an admirable achievement when one considers the magnitude of the problem involved in translating a highly specialized and poetic literary genre which encapsulates the cultural values and mores of the people into a totally unrelated language by using the cultural and linguistic resources of the target language.” Dr Taddese Beyene, AAU

“By the time one has read Wit and Wisdom of Ethiopia one will appreciate that the author has succeeded in sharing with the rest of humanity the rich cultural heritage of Ethiopia and Ethiopians through their clever words of wit and wisdom. Dr Samuel Kinde Kassegne