By Alana Abramson
May 15, 2017

Following her shocking loss to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has taken her next steps, launching a Political Action Committee dedicated to advancing liberal causes. But the PAC is already coming under scrutiny for posting an “African” proverb that has questionable origins.

Included on the website of Clinton’s PAC, Onward Together, is the proverb: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

But according to Jezebel, while this quote is often mentioned as an “African proverb” — on Clinton’s PAC website it is just listed as a proverb — it may not actually be from afriday

“In my passing experience, the “~African Proverb” type of wisdom—extremely general, with a veneer of authenticity borrowed from the continent where human life originated—seems particularly popular among tech types, NGO types, techy NGO types, Ted Talks and evangelical Christians,” Jia Tolentino, who now writes for the New Yorker, wrote on Jezebel in March of 2016.

“I haven’t been able to find, ever, the origins of the proverb,” Imani Owens, assistant professor of African-American literature and culture at the University of Pittsburgh, told NPR last summer, after Cory Booker used the quote in his speech at the Democratic National Convention.

NPR also consulted with Johnnetta Cole, director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, who said that she was confident the quote originated in Africa but couldn’t pinpoint a specific place.

Onward Together did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Write to Alana Abramson at


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