By Pat Caplan
African Voices, African Lives explores the area of 'Mohammed', a swahili peasant dwelling on Mafia Island, Tanzania. via his personal phrases - a few written, a few spoken - and people of his kin, together with his ex-wife and one among his daughters, he allows us to determine the area via his eyes, together with the invisisble international of spirits which performs an important function in his existence. this data is collected via Pat Caplan, the anthropologist, over virtually 3 many years of speaking and writing to one another. She acts not just as translator and editor, but in addition as interpreter, bringing in her personal wisdom accrued from box info in addition to comparative fabric from different anthropological work.
through applying a mix of kinds - narrative and lifestyles background, ethnographic commentary, and the diary saved through Mohammed on the anthropologist's bequest, African Voices African Lives will make an incredible contribution to present debates in anthropology by means of grappling with matters raised by way of 'personal narratives', authorial authority, and with refexivity.
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Extra info for African Voices, African Lives: Personal Narratives from a Swahili Village
P. Did you get new clothes? M. At that time, the Arab [the man for whom he worked] was still alive. He lived then where his grandson lives now. He used to laugh a lot. He had a beard. ’ He prepared a beautiful loin cloth (shuka), like a kikoi (a white one with a coloured border) and so I got that, as well as other clothes my parents had made for me—a vest, a shirt and a gown (kanzu). So there was none of that business of going round to other relatives like mother’s brother or father’s brother [to ask for help with the mandatory set of new clothes]; we didn’t do that.
I used to push with my legs and hold my head like this [he demonstrates and laughs]. If you swim in a river at spring tide (bamvua) you swim like this and you can swim under water with your eyes open. CIRCUMCISION: ‘THE THING THAT I WANTED’ P. There is something else I have remembered I wanted to ask you. Do you remember the day when you entered the jando (circumcision ritual or lodge)? M. e. no longer a child). What was it like? Did they tell you beforehand, or were you taken by surprise? M. At the wedding of my twin sister they cooked porridge, buns (mandazi), rice cakes (vitumbua) and, I think, beans.
Then the next was Seleman. He went to primary school in Minazini, and then in Kirongwe, but he failed his Standard 7 [to enter secondary school]. However, he had a friend in Kirongwe who first helped him to get work in a hotel.. , and so started him on his career. Seleman had a friend from Arusha when he first worked there but they both changed their jobs and went to Arusha together. m. he saw some kind of animal, and ran away fast, until he reached the hotel exhausted and fell down, injuring his knee.
African Voices, African Lives: Personal Narratives from a Swahili Village by Pat Caplan