African Heartbeat: And A Vulnerable Fool


Can a white man thrive living as an African in an African village? Philo's adventure takes him to the fictional African country of Holima, where he learns that Western wisdom simply doesn't work, and that he can only reach Africa by a more vulnerable approach to mission.

Also available as an ebook: here.


Can a white man thrive living as an African in a village in Africa? Philo’s adventure takes him to the fictional African country of Holima, where he is adopted by an African tribe.
Should Philo follow Western wisdom, and cause problems through generous giving? Or can he convince Western people that a vulnerable approach is the best way to reach Africa?
Jim Harries’ new novel of Christian fiction is broadly based on his true-life experiences, and shows how God performs his powerful acts through human weakness.


About the Author

Jim Harries (PhD Theology) has lived in Easter Africa for 30 years. He originally set out from England to teach agriculture, but soon became convinced of the centrality of the gospel.

Additional information

Weight .3 kg
Dimensions 15.2 × .3 × 22.9 cm








Publication Date

14th March 2018

3 reviews for African Heartbeat: And A Vulnerable Fool

  1. Mathew Bartlett

    “Real life in being misunderstood by both cultural viewpoints. I would like to hear what an African thinks about how language and money should work in Africa to develop matters in an African way, without depending on Western sources. The story itself is intriguing yet unresolved. A challenge to all charities, NGOs and individuals that get involved from the West yet also to Africans seeking help from outside sources. Jim has a tough but necessary assignment…” – Anne D on

  2. Mathew Bartlett

    “The title ‘African Heartbeat’ relates not just to the intoxicating thrum of the village drums, but to the experience of the Westerner Philo as he discovers, through progressive integration into African society, what is really at its heart. Along with Philo and through the eyes of his visiting friend Richard, we find the African way full of interest and surprise. We gain insight into rural living conditions, social mores (esp funerals, child discipline, African time!), relations between the developed and the majority world – and a whole new meaning to the word ‘racism’. Add in the spiritual and economic fallout of Westerners’ behaviour, and you have a moral tale as well as a human one. The titular Vulnerable Fool is Philo, as he sheds the trappings of wealth and influence associated with the West, and seeks to present the Christian Gospel unadorned, in all its original power.
    Philo’s growing commitment, to use of local languages and local resources, will challenge advocates of conventionally funded missionary endeavours, and should provoke healthy debate. . What you can’t argue with, though, is Philo’s testimony, that might is very far from right.
    Certainly unlike anything I’ve read before! An unusual story, told by a personable and godly narrator, who himself observes and learns as the book progresses, and gives us more than a little pause for thought.” – Acomb Reader on

  3. Mathew Bartlett

    Beth Snodderly edits the William Carey International Development Journal, and says “Compelling stories enable readers to discover for themselves numerous cultural misunderstandings. Among the difficult issues raised in the narrative are the problems with the use of English instead of African languages, style of punishment, sustainability of capitalism in Africa, African vs. Western leadership of institutions, sense of time, foreign money and gifts, different ways of reasoning, understanding of land, work ethic, the reasons for poverty, what is poverty, Western assumptions that do not fit the cultural context, witchcraft, exorcism of demons, “what is truth?”, dependency, outside resources, the possibility of development, and problems caused by Western generosity,
    This book would be a good resource for prospective cross-cultural workers to help them be aware of what they are “going to meet up with.” Read the whole review here.

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