'Traveling with Nyamayaro - from Tblisi to Montevideo - is both inspiring and maddening, seeing all that has been accomplished and all that’s left to do. Somehow, through it all, she manages to maintain an unwavering optimism - and a belief in the power of NGOs, education, collaboration, and even (gasp) globalism - that buoys the soul and reminds us that there’s no progress without progressives, no light without the torch-bearers.' Dave Eggers
'From the first page to the last, I could not put down this book. I am a Girl from Africa is a story that can uplift and inspire every girl and boy from every part of the world. Beautifully told, and beautifully lived.' Angela Duckworth, author of Grit
A powerful memoir about a girl from Africa whose near-death experience sparked a dream that changed the world.
She squeezes my hand and smiles. “I am here to feed hungry children in the village, because as Africans we must uplift each other.”
I don’t understand what it means to uplift others, but I nod.
I know that I can finally stand up. I will search for food. I will live.
When severe draught hit her village in Zimbabwe, Elizabeth, then eight, had no idea that this moment of utter devastation would come to define her life purpose. Unable to move from hunger, she encountered a United Nations aid worker who gave her a bowl of warm porridge and saved her life. This transformative moment inspired Elizabeth to become a humanitarian, and she vowed to dedicate her life to giving back to her community, her continent and the world.
Grounded by the African concept of Ubuntu - 'I am because we are' - I Am a Girl from Africa charts Elizabeth’s quest in pursuit of her dream from the small village of Goromonzi to Harare, London and beyond, where she eventually became a Senior Advisor at the United Nations and launched HeForShe, one of the world’s largest global solidarity movements for gender equality. For over two decades, Elizabeth has been instrumental in creating change in communities all around the world; uplifting the lives of others, just as her life was once uplifted. The 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 and empowerment in a time when we need it most.
Nyamayaro's determined debut memoir chronicles the fearlessness that took her from a desperately underprivileged childhood in Zimbabwe to founder of the HeForShe gender equality movement, an effort begun under the auspices of UN Women. The narrative moves between her career and her youth in Zimbabwe, where she was saved from dying of hunger when "an angel, dropped from heaven," who wore a UNICEF uniform, offered her porridge and water. She then became determined to work for the UN, "where I too would be able to uplift the lives of others." In 2000, at 25 years old, she moved to London and announced: "I am here to pursue my dream," but discovered there was no local UN office. So started her scrappy effort to make it to Geneva. She began by braiding women's hair for cash, worked as a sales rep doing cold calls to put herself through college, and talked her way into her first UN job as part of a project to fight AIDS in Africa. She credits her rise from there to her steadfast belief, rooted in African ubuntu philosophy, that "if one person is uplifted, then others also rise." Nyamayaro's steadfast pursuit of her goals is mirrored by steady narrative pacing; readers will cheer on her uncompromising commitment. Her life example provides a beacon for ambitious change-makers.