Khaki no be leather

Two songs that I have been hearing a lot of lately, Faze’s Originality and 9ice’s Gongo Aso both have the line “Khaki no be leather” in them.

My guess is the expression means that you can’t compare two things that are so obviously different but I’m wondering if this is a common saying or quote because I had never heard it prior to these songs.

Educate me!

15 thoughts on “Khaki no be leather

  1. It's a common Nigerian saying. I've heard it a couple of times. I'm not really sure what it means. I always assumed it means a good thing (leather) is not the same as an inferior one (khaki) but I could be wrong.

  2. lol… ok, it is a VEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRYYYY common saying. i suppose since u dont live here tho its not a big deal that u've not heard it before.

    it might also be a Lagos thing, but i think its more likely to be a pidgin English thing.


    you're mostly right about what it means. i tend to think it means that even if the two might look alike (somehow, if you shut one eye, squint and tilt ur head 48.5 degrees to the right… lol), they're not the same thing. better quality, bla bla.

    its like the 'photocopy cannot be the original'-type-meaning.

  3. Khaki no be leather…yoruba translation:Kijipa o kin shey awo…pidgin translation…fake no be original…with regards to people…some are shallow while some have depth…the fact that we're all alike doesn't mean we have the same output…with regards to lace(ha ! ha!!)…some are swiss made while some are korean made!…shey you grab?…happy nu year gal!

  4. I 2nd geisha's explanation and yes it's a very common saying. I've been hearing it since i was little.

    By the way, how come i'm getting everyone comments in my emails (from ur blog). Nevermind! I just saw the notify me box checked.

  5. ha!ha!ha!ha!ha!ha!ha!ha!

    that's very funny u kno…. well even before i was born, i more than once heard my dad say to my mum that Khakhi no be leather… so u see, it's a generl way of sayin that things that look alike can't never be the same. it is also a word that originated during the military regime telling u the bloody civillians (cos am military) that our khaki which is our uniforms cant and will never be ur suites and laces that u wear…. take note also that the word leather when use in this context does not mean the skin and tough materials that you wear but rather the usual POLY-ETHIN that is made from rubber…ha!ha!ha!ha!ha!ha!

  6. means two things of different materials cld neva be the same even if they look alike. Some are tougher than the others regardless of how they look.

    My friends when we were kids used that adage when they are abt to fight physically. lol!

  7. Yes, that is definitely a very common saying. But I'm glad that De Outlaws gave his/her explanation too. (I'm guessing "he"). I never knew the "leather" in that phrase meant leather as in polyethin abi how dem dey spell am? I thought it was leather as in genuine leather, so I was thinking that khaki was the inferior one. Hmmm.

    Interesting stuff.

  8. @ Vera. Yep me too. I always assumed leather represented the genuine article. Omo, man dey learn new things for this internet o.

  9. lol…yep it is very popular and they've said it all..

    another one I have been hearing and I really love especially in regards to relationships is…


    lol, I think that basically means…WE WILL SURVIVE…

    Interesting we should write a blog where people write strange sayings that actually make sense…

  10. @Nolimit

    you sure got it right

    ur description was perfect enough

    Kijipa o kin shey awo

    it's like tellin that two things that look alike

    are sure as different as chalk and cheese

    and kinda warnin you so u don't get it twisted

    "khaki no be leather" is usually said on a warning note

  11. Basically meaning a spade is a spade. Khaki is just that and so Leather is Leather and not Khaki…. lol hope I am not confusing you. Because they may look similar but they are not the same thing.

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