The process of preparing sadza (which is the staple food in most of southern Africa) was proceeded by the grinding of grains. This was a process done by crushing the grains initially in a large wooden mortar (Duri) using a large wooden pestle (Mutswi). After this the crushed grains would be ground manually between grinding stones (Guyo & Huyo) in a back and forth process that required physical strength and a strong back. Only then were the grains ready for the preparation of sadza. This painstaking process would lead to the grinder actually being so tired that she/he may not enjoy the sadza leaving the onlookers to enjoy. The observation lead to our elders realizing the lesson that sometimes the fruits of one’s labour are enjoyed by those around her/him, who did not do the work.
The proverb is used to comment on a situation where others benefit from one’s labour. It can also be used indirectly to encourage the hard worker to understand that his/her role is meant to benefit those who are around him and they should not tire from the work before the benefits.