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We Are Not Mahogany: Three stories about the male African life Paperback – May 6, 2014
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About the Author
Dr. Dunigan is the founder of AidChild, the first organization to offer free antiretroviral medication to children living with AIDS in Uganda. He lived in the village of Masaka for nine years before pursuing his academic career. He holds a PhD in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego where he was the Dammeyer Fellow in Global Education Leadership. He also holds a Master's Degree in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University where he was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship, and winner of the 2010 Harvard HDP Marshal Award. Prior to his move to Uganda in 2000, Nathaniel was Deputy Director of the Office of the Governor of Arizona, and Director of Education at Leadership Ministries.
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Top customer reviews
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Dr.Dunigan does not look down on those he wrote about but conveyed to us their thinking and reasons for making choices according to their own truths. He does not present them as inflexible or one dimensional but with feeling and at times great agony. I will read again and would wish that many others would as well.
The stories of Thursday, Luke and Bennett illuminate the lived experiences of African males at three life stages. Each narrative reflects a composite of interview participants in Dr. Dunigan’s dissertation research, incorporating direct quotes as a means to convey authenticity of voice. The men’s stories capture themes of everyday experiences, challenges in accessing education, and complexity of relationships. We are enriched by the sensitivity and humanity, the acceptance of tragedy and the triumph of each who overcomes adversity in their own way. As we encounter how each makes meaning of their life and experiences, we are reminded that, for these men, life is not as enduring as the Mahogany tree.
Following the stories, readers are invited to discuss and reflect on a series of questions proposed by Dr. Dunigan. This format makes We Are Not Mahogany an exceptional resource for book clubs, high school and college courses, and any discussion on culture. An abundance of themes, including but not limited to what it means to be male, relationships, experiences at different life phases, cross cultural assumptions, access to education, and beyond generate rich discussion opportunity.
The next section of the text provides clear and accessible insight into the otherwise complex requirements of dissertation research. Amongst the components, Dr. Dunigan shares the value of the research, his process, and what additional research could add in the future.
The book concludes with contextual information on Uganda.
And now a moment for the personal. In full disclosure, Dr. Nathaniel Dunigan is a colleague. Nathaniel neither knows I purchased his book, nor that I planned to post a review. As members of a community who study leadership through many lenses, I’ve shared classes with Nathaniel. Through various encounters and collaborative efforts, Nathaniel’s thoughtful insight and his dedication, passion, caring and service demonstrate commitment to everyday, authentic leadership. I recommend We Are Not Mahogany not because I call it’s author a friend, but because this book offers the potential for boundary crossing conversation. By choosing simplicity and an easy writing style, Nathaniel has translated dense and robust academic research into an accessible read that moves quickly to the opportunity to discuss the very personal experiences of life as a Ugandan male. In addition to reading and generating learning through discourse, I invite you to explore AidChild.org, NathanielDunigan.com and DrDunnigan.com to learn more about the author and the amazing nonprofit work of Aid Child. We all have an opportunity to make a difference, and I hope Nathaniel’s work inspires you to find your passion and purpose.
Reading the narratives of these men highlighted for me how fragile the fabric of a society really is. The basics that a thriving community is built on are just not that basic. Water, power, well built infrastructure for transportation, cultural 'truths' that impact generation to generation, the list goes on.
Both the deep hope for better and the internal fortitude demonstrated through each story astounded me. I felt like I was transported into their story because I could feel and hear their own words. That was a beautiful and on point decision. I know of many people who have far more opportunity, yet one tragedy in life will be their stopping point. The courage these men show to press forward and to look forward in the midst, is corrective and inspirational.
Great book for further reflection and thought.