People of Africa

by Edith A. How, B.A.


People of Africa cover   People of Africa title page

About the Book

This slim volume, published in 1921, was found in a Cairo bookbinder's shop. Its author, Edith A. How, describes it as one of two texts intended to introduce African children to other peoples of their continent (People of Africa) and the rest of the world (a companion volume about which I know nothing, but would very much like to make available as an electronic edition as well).

If, as I do, you find the postmodern, multiculturalist, politically correct pap which passes for discourse in academia today intensely irritating, it's easy to forget the equally wrong-headed Weltanschauung to which it is a ludicrous overreaction. Here's a fine example, written between the Wars at the apogee of colonialism by a missionary to central Africa. In the words of the preface, this is a work which takes into account that “… the native African has a totally different experience of life, and much that is taken for granted by a child of a Northern civilized land needs explanation to one used to tropical uncivilized surroundings”. Indeed, “… books written for English children (are) almost unintelligible to a member of a primitive race”.

So, squeeze yourself into in the hard wooden chair behind a mission school desk and put yourself in the place of an African child, still struggling with English, discovering the people of the dark continent as seen through enlightened English eyes. In doing so, you'll encounter an Africa, and a Europe, which no longer exist and, perhaps, ponder on what might have been.

Doubtless some politically correct Bowdler wannabe will denounce this work as “racist” after devoting as much thought to the matter as a Galvani frog leg. But it isn't racist—read it! It is triumphally pro-European civilisation and pro-Christian, but I challenge you to find a single suggestion that race, as opposed to accidents of history and geography, has determined the course of civilisations. Further, somebody will probably call me a “racist” for making this rare and obscure document available. Fine: I do not fret over the opinions of those who cannot think.

About this Electronic Edition

This electronic edition of Edith A. How's People of Africa was produced by John Walker in January 2003. It follows the 1921 edition (the only one of which I am aware) published in London by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and in New York by the Macmillan Company. I have corrected two typographical errors in the original text: “sandstorm” was misspelled as “standstorm” on page 21 (section 1 of chapter III), and “bought” appeared where “brought” was intended on page 33 (paragraph 3 of section 2 of chapter IV).

This document is in the public domain. Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this document for any purpose and without fee is hereby granted, without any conditions or restrictions.

Illustrated Web Edition

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Other Editions

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