The proverb “Until the lion learns to write, every story will glorify the hunter” is an old African proverb that speaks to the power of storytelling and its ability to shape our perspectives and beliefs.

The proverb suggests that until the lion learns to tell its own story and become the narrator of its own experience, the hunter’s story will always be the one that is heard and celebrated.

This lion-related proverb is very well-known

The example

Taking the proverb literally, in this case, we only listen to the hunter as he is the only one that can tell his side of the story. After all, the lion cannot write.

We will only hear about the hunter’s side – he might tell of his incredible bravery, wild expeditions and successes. He may even go as far to talk of saving many of those around him.

Those who listen will believe him, as they have not heard any differently. Because after all, the lion cannot write.

The proverb suggests that one day the lion will be able to write. When this happens, the lion will be able to discuss their side of the story. Perhaps then the hunter’s claims will be questioned.

The lion might tell of how the hunter cruelly and unnecessarily caused death and destruction to countless animals. This could change the minds of others.

Only then will people be able to see what the truth is, as they have heard both sides of the story. While the truth may not be obvious, at least a bystander can make an educated guess on what happened.

What does the proverb mean in reality?

This is an interesting proverb and one that is very relevant in the modern day. It reminds us that it is important to listen to both sides of any argument or discussion.

After all, if you only hear one side of the story, how are we meant to come to a well-informed conclusion? Too much of the time, we only hear from one person, rather than all those involved in an event or incident.

This is why we say about how if the lion cannot talk, it is always the hunter who we will believe. But when the lion talks, we can finally hear both sides of the story.

This is especially relevant in the media. The vast majority of the world’s mainstream media opts for a strong left-wing stance. But this only ever tells one side of the story, and is conducive towards spreading fake news. If people knew the full story, perhaps we would see less division.

As an African proverb, it could also be perceived as being African people discussing about how they were marginalised and not listened when they were oppressed.

The Takeaway

The proverb serves as a reminder that until those who have been silenced are able to tell their own stories, the stories told will continue to glorify the hunter.

It is therefore important to listen to all sides of any event or incident. We cannot jump to conclusions, and instead should listen to all, and only when we have formed fully informed opinions, should we make a determination.