Munhu ane njere haanetsani kana kutukana nemunhu anogaromubatsira nokuti anoziva kuti ramangwana angangozodazve rubatsiro rwuye.
English Literal Equivalent: Surely if your head does not remain permanently shaven, it cannot be wise to scold the owner of the razor?
English Meaning: It is unwise to maintain bad relations with those who frequently assist you. One must desist from angering those from whom they regularly seek assistance.
Context: The proverb is structured in the form of a question which utilises the imagery of the barber and their client. In ancient times owning a razor was not a common thing and those who did were often tasked with the role of shaving others. Shaving was done in order to maintain or come up with a clean look and in some cases it was related to a key practice or ritual such as a sign of mourning. If you were to enter into a quarrel with one who has a razor it would be wise to leave it on bad terms since within a few days or weeks you would once again require their assistance. Unlike today where there are many barbers and one could easily change barber or purchase their own tools, in those days one would probably have to humble themselves and return to the one who has the razor. In this simple example our elders were passing on the lesson of the importance of treating well or ensuring you depart on good terms with those who are likely to assist you again.
Application: The proverb can be used for direct and/or indirect advice to someone who is about to damage relations with a frequent source of help by reminding them that they will once again need that person’s help. It is a polite way of questioning the wisdom of such actions. It can also be used retrospectively to provide admonition to someone who goes back or has gone back to seek help from the very person they angered or scolded.