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African Friends and Money Matters: Observations from Africa (Publications in Ethnography Series, Vol. 37) Paperback – 1 Nov 2001
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Top customer reviews
Its primary objective is to inform the 'Westerner' visiting Africa ('a person from Europe, North America, and elsewhere in the industrialized world' or 'any person with European or European-derived culture') so that they may better understand - and have respect for - African 'economic and social systems' at the personal and family level.
It is centred on ninety observations of typical African behaviour which are contrasted with the prevailing attitude of Westerners. The author uses his experience of working as an anthropologist in Africa over a quarter of a century to provide illustrations through personal anecdotes and to suggest explanations as to how some of these differences in behaviour are consistent with other aspects of African (or Western) culture. An additional benefit of this structure is that the book may also be useful to Africans wishing to consider the different behaviours of Westerners.
David Maranz uses a style that is partly informal, partly academic. And the proof of the pudding is in the eating. During my visit there were many occasions when I noticed myself making use of the cultural information I had learnt from this book. In the office, around town and in the market I found that it helped me both in understanding indirect communication from Africans and in getting my own message across in an effective and - I hope - polite manner.
I would recommend this book to any 'Westerner' who would like to be prepared to make sense of African behaviours that they may intuitively find odd or even alarming. As Maranz points out: 'The outsider finds [such behaviour] strange...only because he...doesn't understand the people's logic'.
Jim Leftwich OBE, International Coordinator - Amani UK
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