Anyone who finds himself for the first time in an American supermarket, one of those gigantic unending malls, will be struck by the richness and variety of the goods assembled there, by the presence of every conceivable object that man has ever invented and produced, and subsequently transported, stowed, and piled up, all of which results in the customer not having to think about anything—the thinking was done for him earlier, and now he has everything ready and at hand.
The world of the average African is different indeed. It is a lean world, of the very simplest, most elementary sort, reduced to several objects: a single shirt, a single bowl, a handful of grain, a sip of water. Its richness and diversity are expressed not in a material, concrete, palpable, and visible form, but in the symbolic values and meanings the African imparts to the most mundane things.
The Shadow of the Sun