This is a book for all readers concerned with the future of Africa. The first history of the poor of Sub-Saharan Africa, it begins in the monasteries of thirteenth-century Ethiopia and ends in the South African resettlement sites of the 1980s. It provides a historical context for poverty in Africa--both the permanent poverty of the dispossessed and the temporary poverty of famine victims. Its thesis, modelled on the histories of poverty in Europe, is that most very poor Africans have been incapacitated for labor, bereft of support, and unable to fend for themselves in a land-rich economy. Dr. Iliffe investigates what it is like to be poor, how the poor seek to help themselves, how their families help, and how charitable and governmental institutions provide for them.
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