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African Friends and Money Matters: Observations from Africa (Publications in Ethnography, Vol. 37) Paperback – November 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: SIL International; 1 edition (November 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556711174
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556711176
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Maranz, Ph.D., has lived and worked with SIL International in Cameroon, Senegal, and several other countries in Africa since 1975. He has worked in community development, anthropology, administration, and as an international anthropology consultant. He has a Ph.D. in International Development. His earlier book, Peace is Everything: : The World View of Muslims and Traditionalists in the Senegambia , examines the worldview and religious context of the people in the Senegambia region of West Africa.


More About the Author

David Maranz, Ph.D., has lived and worked with SIL International in Cameroon, Senegal, and several other countries in Africa since 1975. He has worked in community development, anthropology, administration, and as an international anthropology consultant. He has a Ph.D. in International Development. His earlier book, Peace is everything, examines the worldview and religious context of the people in the Senegambia region of West Africa.

Customer Reviews

While it's not a griping novel read, I highly recommend it to anyone who is going to work in Africa!
Glenn Broce
African Friends and Money Matters is essential reading for anyone working in Africa, particularly for short term NGO and mission workers.
Kenneth C. Moore
This book is priceless in understanding the cultural differences between western culture and african culture.
Kristi cochrane

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Lowell E. Johnson on July 30, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is an incisive, sociological story that grips like a good novel.

In the musical "My Fair Lady", Professor Henry Higgins when realizing that he cannot control his "project" student, Eliza Doolittle, sings lamenting "Why can't a woman be more like a man..." It is very easy for us born into a certain culture to have that feeling about particularly 3rd world cultures, and especially about sub-Saharan Africa. Westerners (North Americans and Europeans) often come away from Africa perplexed about life-style and ways of doing things. "Why do they...." and "How do they..." preface our questions when we think of actions we observe that seem counter-productive or may appear to "shoot a society in the foot." Why might money given for fertilizer to be purchased in May, instead be spent on a family wedding in April? How can one be a friend without seeming like a "sugar-daddy"? How can anyone maintain 40 "very-close friends"?

David Maranz, an anthropologist with 25 years experience working in Senegal with the Summer Institute of Linguistics, has written an introduction to the whys and hows of African life, based on his experience and numerous interviews he has had with both native Africas and Westerners living in Africa. This is an "Aha!" type of book, some of which may apply to societies in other countries as well. Dr. Maranz's discoveries are fascinating and often entertaining. Better yet, they provide important answers and background necessary for the respectful and productive interaction of drastically different cultures. He is clear to make the point that his assessment is not a one-size-fits-all in describing the many countries and multiple tribes within countries of Africa.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth C. Moore on December 13, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
African Friends and Money Matters is essential reading for anyone working in Africa, particularly for short term NGO and mission workers. Unfortunately, I didn't read it until after my second trip. I'll be better prepared on my next trip, after having read it. It will save me from some embarassing and occasionally quasi-confrontational moments as I relate to people I really care for. For you who have been deluged with requests for money and financial help, during and after your visit, it will explain some cultural issues, and will help you to better deal with these issues. I regard it as essential reading for mission organizations, mission workers, and other NGOs working short term or long term in Africa.

Ken Moore
Board Member
Lifewater International
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By William J. Ellison on May 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
Having only read this book after returning from a month in Africa, I had wished I'd read it before going ....and it is absolutely invaluable if one has any economic or cultural dealings with mainstream African "friends and money matters."

The cultures are so vastly different - in regards to their perceptions, beliefs and use of material resources - that one is tempted to regard "US" (yes, U.S. and Westerners!) as being "right" and our African friends as being "wrong" .... that is, until one gets the perspective of this excellent book.

It's telling that a used copy's asking price is higher than the original! I can attest from personal experience that this is an excellent and accurate work, and it's got plenty of practical illustrations and examples. Anybody working in Africa, NGO, governmental or business, would do well to STUDY this work.

My only complaint is that there isn't a discounted price for ten or so copies, as I'd love to share it with many. Not knowing what's contained in it's pages will cost you in terms of money, relationships ...and - therefore - effectiveness. They should offer a "double your money back" customer satisfaction guarantee.

The cultural differences are so great it's hard to summarize in one brief review. The main thing is: their system works for them, where they are; ours works for us ... but we can learn much from each other. If you want to be effective in Africa, i.e.: if the topic is relevant, read the book.

William Ellison

Engineering Consultant (short-term missions volunteer)
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Skipblitzz on November 5, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After living and working in Africa over 20 years I found myself saying "yes", "uhuh!", "So true" on almost every page. This book really explains a lot of the reasons for frustration and misunderstanding between those from a Western culture and those in Africa. I wish this book would have been written when I first started work here. One may not agree with all the principles given but they are all helpful to understand the African mindset. If you plan to visit Africa, work there for a short time, or if you work with African visitors in your country, be sure to read this book. It will go a long way to help you have a better relationship with those from the African continent.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gretchen Denton on May 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book because I interact with people from Kenya who are in a partnership with our Presbytery (district church organization) and everything I read in this book rings true with my experience. Now, instead of thinking "they just want our money" or "they're always asking" I can look at the frequent requests as a difference in our outlook on money and personal relationships. There is a richness in their attitudes that I can appreciate and I can learn to respond in more thoughtful ways that express our cultural viewpoint while accepting their community understanding of the use of resources, especially money. How much we have to learn from one another!

This book is easy to understand, practical, and caring.
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