Professor Steve Edwards of the University of Zululand reviews Elias Mpofu’s new book, Counseling People of African Ancestry
Humanity has its roots in Africa, with Southern Africa a probable source of early migration, and thus there is the inferential implication as to the ultimate African origin of all forms of counseling. Certainly for those of us involved in counseling with people of recent African ancestry there is a continual reminder of our essential humanity. As noted in various chapters of Counseling People of African Ancestry, edited by Prof Elias Mpofu, this essential humanity especially includes a communal, spiritual dimension and/or ancestral consciousness. In isiZulu it is poetically expressed in the phrase “umuntu, umuntu, ngabantu” (literally a person becomes a person through other people). In this general sense the book provides excellent counseling instruction for all people inhabiting our global village.
The book particularly satisfies a need for quality texts on counseling people of recent African ancestry, especially as written by African authors for people of African ancestry. While there have been other African counseling books, in my opinion, not one approximates this book for its organization, illustrations, scope and depth with regard to counseling theory and practice in African and indigenous cultural heritage settings. The preface appropriately reads as follows:
“This volume advances a uniquely Afro-centric, sociocultural understanding of health maintenance and risk reduction in African cultural heritage populations. It unites a diverse group of leading African and Africanist scholars in an exploration of common cultural values in African heritage communities and their practical applications in contemporary counseling. The chapters highlight the prominent health issues faced in Africanist settings today and use real-world experiences to illustrate core lessons for effective community action. The approach spans complex cultural milieus, from diversity counseling to conflict resolution. Each chapter includes field-based experiential tasks, discussion boxes, research boxes and case studies, which serve as valuable resources in both coursework and casework. Counseling People of African Ancestry is an essential primer for community health workers, counselors and educators seeking a better understanding of African cultural heritage settings.”
The book follows a rich tradition of African heritage contributions to contemporary humanity. It is also a resource for the future, not only for those involved with counseling African people, but for all counseling in all contexts. One foresees that this book will be in great demand, especially from academics, professionals and students in the human, educational and social sciences. It therefore seems entirely appropriate that I conclude with an African singing of praises (called imibongi in isiZulu) with regard to Prof Mpofu’s dedicated contribution as editor. He is to be gratefully congratulated as one to whom it was given to guide many lives. Siyabonga solwazi.
About the Editor
Counseling People of African Ancestry is the latest book by Prof Elias Mpofu, internationally renowned African academic, who has held professorial appointments in the USA, Australia, Botswana and Zimbabwe and received many international awards and research grants, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. As is the case with Prof Mpofu’s other contributions, which include editorship of various international journals, as well as authoring of eight books and hundreds of other publications, articles and book chapters, this book reflects a life time commitment to promote human health and education, with special reference to African people.
Steve Edwards, Professor Emeritus of Psychology (University of Zululand), South Africa, has served as the HoD in the Psychology Department of the University of Zululand for over 25 years. He has doctoral degrees in Psychology (UCT, 1974) and Education (UNISA, 1992), and is registered as a Clinical and Educational Psychologist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa and a Chartered Clinical, Sport and Exercise Psychologist with the British Psychological Society.
19/03/2012 Article submitted by Professor Steve Edwards, Psychology Department, University of Zululand, South Africa
Title: Counseling People of African Ancestry
Author: Prof Elias Mpofu
Publication Date: September 2011
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Hardback ISBN: 9780521887229
Current Price: R900.00