Lapha kukhulunywa ngomuntu owenza okubi abesesebenzisa ulimi olumnandi ukuzenza umuntu olungileyo.
English Literal Equivalent: S/he bites and soothes like a rat.
English Meaning: Some evil doers use carefully chosen words to tell lies and present themselves as innocent.
Context: In the African villages if one slept without fully cleaning their feet they could attract rats with their scent. This was more so in the event that one was at a banquet and in the process of dancing, they stepped on food or beer. At night, the rat would mistake their feet for the food and would gnaw on their feet as they slept. However, the rats do it so skillfully that their victim does not feel the pain. It is said to bite and blow to lesson the bite being felt. The person would only realize it when they wake up and notice wounds or bite marks resembling the rat teeth. By then the damage will already be done. Similar to the practice by rats, our ancestors observed that there are people who cause trouble in their families or communities or at work, and do it so cunningly that they are not noticed until it is too late. They say damaging things and then proceed to be nice or say nice things to lesson the blow. In this proverb such people are likened to rats which bites the person while soothing so they don’t feel the pain yet they get injured.
Application: This proverb is meant to warn people who may fall victim of the cunning deeds of trouble causers. People are warned to beware of “friends” and “family members” who usually are always at right place at the right right time to console people should trouble occur. While some people will be genuinely sympathizing with us in times of the misfortune, some could be behind the misfortunes and they will do anything to be in our good books so they can have more opportunities of causing more troubles from within.