"When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground."
This is an old African proverb. There are many others ranging from the profound to the frankly bizarre, including:
- If you refuse the elder's advice you will walk the whole day. (Tanzania).
- If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family (Ghana).
- Wherever the heart is, the feet dont hesitate to go. (Togo).
- When the monkey sees a nice fruit in the tree that cant be grasped, then
the monkey says the fruit is rotten. (Congo).
- The ox doesnt boast about its strength in front of the elephant.
- When elephants fight, the grass always is the one that suffers. (Swahili).
- Swim across the river before being rude to the crocodile.
- If one had nothing to say, one had better keep silent.
- It isnt because it is hard that one doesnt dare, but since one doesnt
dare it becomes hard.
- Everything has an end, except a banana which has two of them. (Bambara/Mali).
- He who swallows a coconut has confidence in his anus!
The country of origin is likely just one of the countries where a particular expression can be found - no doubt many of them are widely spread with multiple variations.