The accumulated wisdom of the tribe comes down to us in many forms. I am partial to proverbs, particularly in translation, which afford both sage advise and humorous incongruity in equal measure. Africa in particular has a great wealth of proverbial lore:
The Ashanti caution that "it is the calm and silent water that drowns a man" and "when the cock is drunk he forgets about the hawk."
In Congo "those who are absent are always wrong", which has a corollary in our own "if you don't vote, you can't bitch."
In Senegal "an intelligent enemy is better than a stupid friend", which I swear I heard Connecticut Republicans saying about Joe Lieberman. In Ghana they say "the chicken is never declared in the court of hawks."
In Namibia I learned "when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers." I also heard a proverb in the making, when a friend teaching in the Peace Corps who was trying to grow out his facial hair was told by a female colleague that "a kiss without a beard is like an egg without salt." As one who has not seen his upper lip since graduating from high school and is getting increasingly long in the tooth, I heartily support the propagation of this profound understanding of the desirability of the older man.