Ububi lempambeko zomuntu wezizweni azibonakali/azaziwa.
English Literal Equivalent: A good knobkerrie is cut from far away places.
English Meaning: The follies of people who are new at a place are not known. The faults of those within the vicinity are more visible than those from afar.
Context: The proverb is premised on two African practices, the use of a knobkerrie and choosing a life partner. A knobkerrie was an important tool/weapon in a man’s life. No man moved around without a knobkerrie, and just like clothes, everyone wanted to have a good knobkerrie. People from different places used knobkerries from different trees depending on the vegetation of the place. If one visited a far away place where different trees are used to make knobkerries, they would bring a knobkerrie and because this was unique as it would not be similar to the ones there it was regarded as good. Hence in this way our elders realized that people usually admire something they have not grown accustomed to because they cannot see or have not yet experienced its faults.
Application: This proverb was used in the practice of choosing a life partner. No one wanted to marry someone whose bad traits were known or whose questionable character others were aware of. On the other hand, someone from far away had a past that was not known hence was regarded as good for marriage. It also encouraged people to try other practices from other communities to compliment their own practices. Hence it is also used to observe that the faults of those in one’s vicinity are more noticeable than those of those from afar.