Umangoye uselala eziko
Literal EngThe cat is now sleeping at the fire place/hearth.
Eng There is no more food at home and people are starving.
Fire is made at the hearth for many purposes with the most common being the preparation of food. If food is prepared in the morning, afternoon and evening, the hearth will be hot for the greater part of the day. As such the cat would not sleep on a hot hearth. On the other hand, when there is nothing to cook and the weather is not cold, there would be no need to make fire. Thus the hearth will be cold and the cat can comfortably sleep. Noticing this behaviour by the cat, our elders came up with this proverb to encourage people to work hard in order to avoid such a scenario.
The proverb is used to encourage people to work hard and save their families from starvation. Anyone who was lazy and failed to fend for their families was mocked using this proverb. For fear of ridicule using this proverb, household heads worked hard to provide for their families.