COPPER TOWN: Changing Africa by Hortense Powdermaker

COPPER TOWN: Changing Africa

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The author, who is Professor of Anthropology at Queens College, spent the winter of 1953-54 in a copper-mining town in Northern Rhodesia investigating the influence of Western mass media on the natives of a company town. Her book, however, covers much more ground than this, as she devotes two-thirds of it to background information. She outlines the structure and customs of the local tribes and the changes wrought in African life from the 1870's by European missionaires and traders. On today's situation, representative European opinions of the Africans are juxtaposed with African views on the Europeans. As a result of living in the mining compound, African family life and customs have changed, and African trade unionism has been important in giving the African a sense of self-respect before the European. Professor Powdermaker's own rather academic style is frequently broken by experts of conversations with African miners and clerks: it is refreshing to have so much information in their own words. Particularly fascinating and sometimes hilarious are the African's comments on the westerns and newsreels they often see. A useful book on an important subject.

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 1962
Publisher: Harper