Africa proverbs

African Proverb: On The Chameleon

Proverb: A chameleon that wants to survive from the burning bush must abandon the majestic walk of its ancestors.

Origin: When there’s a fire in the bush, all living things around there fly, crawl, run for dear lives. Even the slowest among them will make a drastic effort to escape the fire.

Chameleons are slow-walking reptiles with teeth attached to the edge of the jaw. Many species come in different colors and can change colors at will. They are adapted to climbing, live in warm habitats that occur in Africa and Mediterranean Europe. Their tails are short and curled. Indeed, these characteristics make them seem ‘majestic’.

Meaning: The proverb translates to doing things differently to survive, dropping pride, or whatever to achieve a purpose. If you want to make a difference in life, you must change the ordinary ways of doing things. Sometimes tough times can alter convention.


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