Chako ndechawadya chesango mutoro wamambo / Chako ngechowadya chasara mutoro wamambo

Munhu haafaniri kuvimba nechinhu kana zvinhu zvisiri zvake nokuti pane zvizhinji zvingapingidze zvikamutadzisa kuzviwana

English Literal Equivalent: What you have eaten is what you can claim, what remains in the forest is the Chief’s burden

English Meaning: One must not rely on or claim an event or opportunity that they do not own or have control over.

Context: Hunting used to be one of the most reliable ways to ensure that an individual or family has something to feed. Often hunting was done in packs usually based on a village and/or family. Chief’s being the leaders of community could either lead a hunting team or in their older years they would direct or authorise but would remain at the village. In most situations where the hunting has been authorised by the chief, once the kill has been made, it would be brought to the chief first who would apportion the kill usually after taking some for his own. Such a role meant that it was up to the Chief to decide who would eat what and when. Hence our elders observed that the kill you can claim is the one you have already eaten and the one in the forest remains at the mercy of the Chief’s direction. Hence the mere sight of a well fed antelope is no guarantee, regardless of your hunting skills, that it will result in a meal for you.

Application: It is very risky to put one’s faith in a possibility that is yet to materialise especially in a situation where the possibility relies on further occurrences or on another individual. The proverb is thus used to warn against those who place high faith in a reward that is based on what they do not own. It can also be retrospectively to remind one that their reliance on someone else is the cause of their disappointment.


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