I WAS A SAVAGE by Prince Modupe


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An articulate, beautifully written account of an African's struggle to resolve tribal upbringing with western education. As a child in the So-So tribe in French Guinea he was heir to the chieftainship and learned his lessons of respect to his elders, responsibility to and dependence upon his community. Other laws followed: at puberty responsibility as a man and sanctity of the body was taught; next came the circumcision rites and then the test of manhood, for which Modupe killed a leopard singlehanded. The first white man to be seen in the village was a missionary whose evidences of his white god's superiority impressed Modupe's father who sent his son to the Sierra Leone to learn about this ""magic"". At the mission school Modupe was convinced he should try for the university and, on his return to the tribe for permission to leave Africa he married the lovely Konde. On their hunt for the legendary ""elephants' graveyard"" for ivory to finance his education, kende le killed in the rapids and, grief determining him, Modupe, against the tribe's wishes, embarked for America and worked his way to Hampton Institute in Virginia. Impressive rebuttal against the horrors of Something of Value and the impersonality of anthropologists' scientific studies, this carries the excitement of an African speaking for himself and of the discovery that differences between his people and ours may not be so basic. Autobiography and a quest that is distinctive.

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace