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I Am Because We Are

African Wisdom in Image and Proverb

Betty Press

Publication Year: 2013

I Am Because We Are features 125 black and white photographs by Betty Press taken all over East and West Africa since 1987, combined with related African proverbs compiled by Annetta Miller, an American born in Tanzania.

The book highlights the importance of proverbs in educating members of African societies on how to think, how to behave, and how to have a better life. Press took these photographs with the goal of making a significant educational and artistic contribution to the appreciation and understanding of African culture and society as well as our own.

The photographs of daily life deal with knowledge, cooperation, love, beauty, friendship, hope, humor, sorrow, happiness, gratitude, dance, tradition, faith, peace, war, death, and human relationships. These are the same themes found in African proverbial language. Thus came the natural idea of coupling images with proverbs. Together they offer a powerful expression of African life and the universality of human emotions, ideas, and knowledge.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. 1-6

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pp. 2-3

I Am Because We Are: African Wisdom in Image and Proverb is a stunning collection of photographs taken by Betty Press while she lived and traveled in Africa. One hundred and twenty-five photographs have been paired with African proverbs compiled by Annetta...

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pp. 4-9

Proverbs are “the palm oil with which words are eaten” (Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart); they are aphorisms that capsulate a people’s explanation of the origin of the universe. They deal with views on life and existence, being, friendship, values, love, human relations, death, concepts of time: temporality and historicity. More...

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pp. 5-165

All who live under the sun are plaited together like one big mat. Life is a gift of nature but beautiful living is a gift of wisdom.The world is a mirror; it looks at you the same way you look at it.Better a piece of bread with a happy heart than wealth with grief.Life is best lived at a walking pace and best understood at a sprint....

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pp. 167-173

For many Americans, Africa exists in contradictory imaginings. In Africa we keep both the spare purity of Hemingway’s Kilimanjaro and the sordid horror of Conrad’s dark river. This huge and mysterious continent offers the glamour and romance of Isak Dinesen and the tragedy of our ancestors shipped away, weeping and in chains....

About Books For Africa

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pp. 169-174

About the Authors and Contributors

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pp. 170-175

Index of Photographs

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pp. 171-175


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pp. 176-177

E-ISBN-13: 9781626740006
E-ISBN-10: 1626740003
Print-ISBN-13: 9780983545446

Page Count: 184
Illustrations: 125 b&w photographs
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 862135357
MUSE Marc Record: Download for I Am Because We Are