Book Review: African Friends and Money Matters by David Maranz

AFRICAN FRIENDS AND MONEY MATTERS by David Maranz is about the social and economic systems in Africa. This book review was written by Hank Griffith of South Suburban Evangelical Free Church in Apple Valley, Minnesota. This book is good for those in African ministry or planning on going to Africa for ministry.

During our years (1973 to 1991) in Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo, my wife Donna and I found the people to whom God sent us the most friendly, hospitable, and generous people we had ever met in our entire lives. However, because of our being often asked for money and other things by Africans, a practice which we found extremely annoying, it would have been very helpful if we had had this book to read before leaving for our first term and if we had read It again a few years later after we had some actual practical experience in Africa.

Economic and Social Systems

African Friends and Money Matters is by far the best discussion I’ve ever read on how economic and social systems work on the individual level. Its author, David Maranz, Ph.D, who has served with SIL (Wycliffe) in several countries in Africa since 1975, has an abundance of firsthand experience on how African friendships and money matters actually work on the individual level.


Most of Maranz’s experience has been in Senegal and other West African nations. However, he has gleaned information from many other people, both Africans and expatriates, in Central and East Africa. In my opinion, the customs and practices he writes about are almost universal throughout sub-Saharan African, except that some of his examples seem a little more relevant for those serving in urban areas, rather than rural, and for those serving among Muslims, rather than non-Muslims.


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