Hustling Is Not Stealing: Stories of an African Bar Girl by John M. Chernoff

By John M. Chernoff

The customers of a sixteen-year-old West African lady with out cash, schooling, or adventure may appear lovely miserable. but when she's obtained a hell of loads of nerve and a knack for locating the humorous aspect in even the worst events, she simply may possibly conquer her conditions. Our heroine Hawa does, and he or she did. within the Nineteen Seventies, John Chernoff recorded the tale of her lifestyles as an "ashawo," or bar woman, earning money on presents from males and her personal quickly wits, and right here offers it in Hustling isn't Stealing, essentially the most notable "autobiographies" you'll ever encounter.

What could have been a tragic story of worry and exploitation turns in its place right into a attention-grabbing send-up of lifestyles in sleek Africa, because of Hawa's smarts, savvy, and ear for telling simply the fitting tale to make her aspect. via her wide-open and understanding eyes, we get an within view of what existence is absolutely like for kids in West Africa. We secret agent on nightlife scenes of intercourse and deception; we see how modern-minded early life care for lifestyles within the towns in villages; and we percentage the candy and occasionally foolish friendships shaped within the streets and bars.

But normally we come to grasp Hawa and the way she has navigated a lifestyles that few may think. the 1st of 2 humorous, poignant volumes, Hustling begins with an in-depth advent via Chernoff to Hawa's Africa. From there the publication lines her notable transformation from a playful warrior suffering opposed to her situations to an insightful trickster having fun with and making the most of them as most sensible she can.

Part coming-of-age tale, half ethnography, and all compulsively readable, Hustling isn't Stealing is a unprecedented publication that educates as completely because it entertains.

"You can see a few humans outdoor, and you'll imagine they're having fun with, yet they're affliction. at any time when in a few nightclub, you will see that a woman dressed well, and she's dancing, she's satisfied. you are going to say, 'Ah! This girl!' you do not know what challenge she has acquired. a few humans say that this lifestyles, it is unto us. it truly is unto us? Yeah, it really is unto me, yet occasionally it isn't unto me. whilst i used to be starting to be up, i did not believe like doing some of these issues. there isn't any lady who will get up as a tender lady and say, 'As for me, while I develop up, i would like to be ashawo, to compliment everybody.' no longer any woman will think about this."—from the book

Winner - 2004 Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing

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