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Publisher's Summary

A “profound and soul-nourishing memoir” (Oprah Daily) from an African girl whose near-death experience sparked a lifelong dedication to humanitarian work that helps bring change across the world.

When severe drought hit her village in Zimbabwe, Elizabeth Nyamayaro, then only eight, had no idea that this moment of utter devastation would come to define her life’s purpose. Unable to move from hunger and malnourishment, she encountered a United Nations aid worker who gave her a bowl of warm porridge and saved her life - a transformative moment that inspired Elizabeth to dedicate herself to giving back to her community, her continent, and the world.

In the decades that have followed, Elizabeth has been instrumental in creating change and uplifting the lives of others: by fighting global inequalities, advancing social justice for vulnerable communities, and challenging the status quo to accelerate women’s rights around the world. She has served as a senior advisor at the United Nations, where she launched HeForShe, one of the world’s largest global solidarity movements for gender equality. In I Am a Girl from Africa, she charts this “journey of perseverance” (Entertainment Weekly) from her small village of Goromonzi to Harare, Zimbabwe; London; New York; and beyond, always grounded by the African concept of ubuntu - “I am because we are” - taught to her by her beloved grandmother.

This “victorious” (The New York Times Book Review) memoir brings to vivid life one extraordinary woman’s story of persevering through incredible odds and finding her true calling - while delivering an important message of hope, empowerment, community support, and interdependence. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 Elizabeth Nyamayaro. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"Nyamayaro never shies away from the difficult truths of poverty, illness, and maternal mortality rates. She deftly balances her personal story and those of the people she has encountered in her work. Her accent is a combination of Zimbabwean and British, and she captures the accents of others respectfully. Nyamayaro's narration is powerful, not just because of her words, but because she performs with emotions that capture the truth she has lived." (AudioFile Magazine)

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What listeners say about I Am a Girl from Africa

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Not one of my favorites

I was unable to hear the end of this book. Unable to return it.
Found the author to be self absorbed and somewhat tedious

18 people found this helpful

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Inspiring and Heartwarming

Several years ago, I learned about the idea of ubuntu. The way that the author weaves ubuntu throughout her life and story give it more context and action. This story has left me feeling inspired and hopeful.

15 people found this helpful

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a hero for women and girls globally

an inspirational woman on so many level. obontue (sp) is the inspirational word and take away from this novel. the world needs you as a leader and teacher. many blessings to you, you are doing God's work.

11 people found this helpful

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so sly and so loving

thank you, elizabeth nyamayaro, for reminding me of ubuntu. i first read of this way of caring for each other during graduate course work in indigenous studies in the mid 90s. it has added to my life, understandings, and hopes for the world around me ever since.

i also thank you for writing so personally and choosing your details they way you did. this adds so much about the how and the why of ubuntu that would otherwise be harder to notice. in staying so inward at the same time as your focus is so large, details slide in all over the place inside me, not giving old believes, potential blocks, and unhealthy habits to disrupt them. it's about you, not me, so reactions aren't triggered. in doing this, you're like samantha powers, whose memoir is as intimate as yours, but about the place of person and family in a political world. you two have different styles and pathways for presenting alternatives, but you seem to me to present two aspects of a whole that is too large to be contained by any life's descriptions or any perspectives.

for over 60 years i've been focusing on an unsayable question about how humans and humanity can realistically become more humane. between you and samantha, i now have two parts of an answer to add to what i've figured out for myself, but without what you, elizabeth, have given me with your words and voice, i wouldn't know it.

2 people found this helpful

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Malawian proverb - When you educate a girl, you educate a nation.

Malawian proverb - When you educate a girl, you educate a nation.

"U-bun-tu (Ooo-Boon-too) is what connects us as human beings here in Goromonzi, but also everywhere in the world." Gogo

"Ubuntu is the essence of who we are as Africans, a lesson we learned from our ancestors, who understood that we are all part of one human family. We need each other, and we are responsible for each other." "Ubuntu means: I am because we are, and because we are, you are." Gogo

Elizabeth Nyamayaro penned a beautiful memoir that is exemplary of determination and resilience. Each chapter starts with very profound African proverbs. I admire how they appreciated love, life, the land, God, and each other. You can feel the passion in her writing. Lizzy shares with us her journey toward fulfilling her dream that she is deeply passionate about. Lizzy's journey began in a small village in Goromonzi, Africa, and crossed several continents. Prayer is central to everything Elizabeth does. Two of the driving themes throughout the book are kindness and always seeking new opportunities to better oneself and uplift others. In addition to unwavering family support and being continuously guided by her ancestors, Lizzy pulls strength from her ancestors in the spirit of Ubuntu and Shinga to fulfill her dreams. She was and continues to be successful in motivating others and building community interest to improve health conditions and women's role in the community. Lizzy dreamed of becoming like the girl in the blue dress that saved her life. After many setbacks, Lizzy ultimately exceeds her expectations beyond her wildest dreams. While serving as a senior advisor at the United Nations, she launched HeForShe, one of the world's largest global solidarity movements for gender equality. "As Africans, we must uplift each other." Elizabeth Nyamayaro. I Am A Girl From Africa made me think about how underlying social and cultural norms differ globally. The author educates us about how these differences affect women's roles in communities. Behavior influences health, but culture influences behavior, she so rightly stated.

"Together We Aspire, Together We Achieve." Trinidad and Tobago Motto

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Loved it!

So happy Elizabeth read the book!!! I loved listening to her read it. Great book!

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Such an inspiration and compelling story

I particularly enjoyed having the author read this one. Her passion really comes through. I never heard of He for She and now will never forget what it has done to promote gender equality. But what I enjoyed the most was her personal story of her life so far and the people in her life. The beauty of Africa and her people and the spirit of Ubuntu underneath it all.

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Fantastic

So inspiring. It should be required school reading. Letting everyone know what one person can do with help from others.

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The Girl In The Blue Uniform

A truly uplifting memoir. With every possible obstacle in front of her, Elizabeth pushes on. She didn't just reach her goal, she exceeded it.

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Powerful

Such an interesting listen. The beginning seemed a little too simplistic at first but it evolved into such an amazing story of perseverance and pride.