I Am a Girl from Africa Summary and Reviews

I Am a Girl from Africa

by Elizabeth Nyamayaro

I Am a Girl from Africa by Elizabeth Nyamayaro X
I Am a Girl from Africa by Elizabeth Nyamayaro
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Book Summary

The inspiring journey of a girl from Africa whose near-death experience sparked a dream that changed the world.

When severe draught hit her village in Zimbabwe, Elizabeth, then eight, had no idea that this moment of utter devastation would come to define her life purpose. Unable to move from hunger, she encountered a United Nations aid worker who gave her a bowl of warm porridge and saved her life. This transformative moment inspired Elizabeth to become a humanitarian, and she vowed to dedicate her life to giving back to her community, her continent, and the world.

Grounded by the African concept of ubuntu—"I am because we are"—I Am a Girl from Africa charts Elizabeth's quest in pursuit of her dream from the small village of Goromonzi to Harare, London, New York, and beyond, where she eventually became a Senior Advisor at the United Nations and launched HeForShe, one of the world's largest global solidarity movements for gender equality. For over two decades, Elizabeth has been instrumental in creating change in communities all around the world; uplifting the lives of others, just as her life was once uplifted. The memoir brings to vivid life one extraordinary woman's story of persevering through incredible odds and finding her true calling—while delivering an important message of hope and empowerment in a time when we need it most.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Nyamayaro's steadfast pursuit of her goals is mirrored by steady narrative pacing; readers will cheer on her uncompromising commitment. Her life example provides a beacon for ambitious change-makers." - Publishers Weekly

"[M]oving...An inspiring narrative that will be especially valuable to young people seeking to work for humanitarian causes." - Kirkus Reviews

"The striking title of this memoir establishes the very foundation of who the author, Elizabeth Nyamayaro, is. As the content is built upon this base, readers will find that they are occupying the story of a truly exceptional human being...A deeply personal and richly inspirational self-portrait." - Booklist

"Elizabeth Nyamayaro has written a wonderfully accessible and moving memoir that masterfully weaves her own story into the contemporary fight for global gender equity. Traveling with Nyamayaro — from Tblisi to Montevideo — is both inspiring and maddening, seeing all that has been accomplished and all that's left to do. Somehow, through it all, she manages to maintain an unwavering optimism — and a belief in the power of NGOs, education, collaboration, and even (gasp) globalism — that buoys the soul and reminds us that there's no progress without progressives, no light without the torch-bearers." – Dave Eggers, author of The Parade and The Captain and the Glory

"From the first page to the last, I could not put down this book. I Am a Girl from Africa is a story that can uplift and inspire every girl and boy from every part of the world. Beautifully told, and beautifully lived." – Angela Duckworth, author of Grit

"More than a heartwarming and uplifting memoir, I Am a Girl from Africa is a story of millions of girls around the world – and a true testament of what is possible when girls are given an equal right to quality education. Through Elizabeth's remarkable story, we are reminded that education remains a closest thing to a silver bullet when it comes to gender equality." – Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General, UN Women

This information about I Am a Girl from Africa was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Deborah Cherniss

From humble childhood to world-wide impact
This inspiring, if sobering, story tells of the author’s life from her girlhood in rural Africa, where she is saved from dying in a drought by a UN worker, through her challenges and opportunities to become a respected, impactful advisor for UN Women. She writes not only of her own family’s situation of poverty, hunger, and unemployment, but also of HIV/AIDS, River Blindness, and Domestic Abuse, and Health Care Inequities in countries like Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo

The program she spear-headed, HeForShe, has led to the end of child marriages in Malawi; steps to end domestic violence and rape in Zimbabwe, South Africa, and other countries; establishing the African Women Leaders Network, a network of over 100 former, current, and aspiring female politicians across Africa, and more in Europe, Indonesia, and Latin America as well.

Impressive as these achievements are, the values that have guided her, instilled by her beloved grandmother in the Zimbabwe village, can speak to us all. First, there is ubuntu (Ooo-Boon-too), which is respect, compassion, and connection to all people. It is stated as “I am because we are, and because we are, you are.” One must uplift others in order to uplift oneself.

Second, she firmly believes that change must come from within the community. It can be supported from outside, through money and other resources, but the community must be committed to and intimately involved in order for lasting change to be achieved.

Nyamayaro’s writing is simple, clear, positive, and captivating, and her tone humble. It isn’t until we sit back to look at all she has done, that we realize what this “girl from Africa” has done to make the world better for all of us.

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Author Information

Elizabeth Nyamayaro

Elizabeth Nyamayaro is an award-winning humanitarian and former United Nations Senior Advisor on Gender Equality. Born in Zimbabwe, Elizabeth has worked at the forefront of global development for over two decades improving the lives of underserved populations and has held leadership roles at the World Bank, World Health Organization, UNAIDS, and UN Women. I Am a Girl from Africa is her first book.

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