Tsumo

Mbeva zhinji hadzina marise (mashe)

Literal EngToo many mice in one nest have no lining for their nest.

Definitions

Shona

Kuita basa vanhu vakawandisa hakunyatsofamba sezvingaitika kana rikaitwa nevanhu vashoma vanenge vakazvipira uye vachinyatsoziva zvavanofanira kuita. Kana vanhu vanhu vakawandisa pabasa rimwe chete vanopingaidzana vachitadza kuita zvinobudirira. Kana vanhu vakawanda pabasa hapana chinobuda. Kuwanda hakusi kuita.

Eng If too many people are engaged in the same work they will have little success because they will get in each other’s way. For progress to be registered, everybody must have their well defined terms of reference. In another way - too many cooks spoil the broth.

Learn

Mice are very busy little creatures and more-so when they are gathering lining for their nest. However if there are many mice in one nest they cannot accomplish this task as they will keep getting in each other’s way. The frustrated mice will leave and go and prepare other nests. In the same way, as our ancestors observed, if one assigns many people to one project/task, it is bound to fail because they end up confusing each other. It is important to have only those that are necessary doing the tasks and even then, clearly defined roles are required.
The proverb is used to discourage the assignment of too many people to one task/project as this leads to them confusing each other. It can be used to advice on the developing of compact teams with clearly assigned roles that compliment rather than complicate other roles.
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