On my 12th birthday my mom gave me a box full of books. These were books she read as a young lady and books she discovered during her tenure as a teacher. This was one of the books read at one of the schools she taught at and I never got around to reading it. What a nifty little book. The other day I watched a YouTube lecture by Erin Meyer titled The Culture Map and in this video she talks about cultural differences in various aspects of human life but specifically in organizations such as communications, giving feedback, leading, trusting etcetera. She then goes into the notion of low and high content culture and what that means. In sum;
Low context cultures
These are cultures that will tell you something repeatedly to make sure you get it. So when giving a presentation, they will tell you what the presentation will be about, go into the details of the presentation and then do a recap. Countries such as the USA are typical low culture countries.
High context cultures
These are cultures that assume that you have the same shared knowledge of things and meaning is read between the lines and not always literal. Countries such as Japan, Zimbabwe, typically some Asian and African countries have such context.
Of course in each country there will be variances but this is just a guide.
Now what does this have to do with this book? I couldn’t help but agree with Erin’s notions on some African contexts. This book is full of proverbs and sayings that Africans will easily identify with which may not be so obvious to other cultures. Iroh did good work in expanding these so the book was in a way ahead of its time because the author managed to keep it African and also go beyond by expanding these known African sayings. Often times in our cultures, there are things that are considered taboo, like sweeping at night, talking while adults are speaking and many others which as children we aren’t expected to question. African mothers for instance can look at a child smiling and convey a chastising message while another culture may think the mother is being affectionate.
Ok, now to the book. It is about a boy called Ure from a poor family in monetary terms, but rich in values. He is faced with the possibility of dropping out of school at a very young age, a plight still faced by many children in my continent, Africa. Money goes missing and he is the prime suspect. This is a story about honesty, values such as respect, diligence and resilience. I recommend each parent to read this book with their children as it has many life lessons. They are too many to mention. This boy is my hero. This is an excellent book for children in primary school and early teenage years.