By Pat Caplan
African Voices, African Lives explores the area of 'Mohammed', a swahili peasant residing 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 in every of his daughters, he permits us to determine the realm via his eyes, together with the invisisble international of spirits which performs an important function in his existence. this knowledge is accumulated through 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 accumulated from box info in addition to comparative fabric from different anthropological work.
by way of applying a mix of kinds - narrative and lifestyles historical past, ethnographic remark, and the diary saved through Mohammed on the anthropologist's bequest, African Voices African Lives will make an immense contribution to present debates in anthropology by way of grappling with concerns raised by means of 'personal narratives', authorial authority, and with refexivity.
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Additional resources for African Voices, African Lives: Personal Narratives from a Swahili Village
Mohammed and his family appear frequently in all of this data—as informants, as actors, and in some cases as commentators. Second, there are recordings of various rituals, particularly those connected with spirit possession, which Mohammed, among others, helped me to transcribe and understand. Third, for most of that first period of field-work, I too kept a daily diary, and in this Mohammed, Mwahadia and their children appear quite often, particularly as our relationship became closer. In addition, Mohammed’s own diary is scattered throughout my notebooks.
And what do you say? How do you see such things? M. It is shameful (fedheha), shameful and disgraceful (aibu) for them to do such things. To sleep with a man who is not her husband, that God should grant her to do such a thing and to have a child which depends on her alone, which is hers alone. To have only a mother, not a father. e. to his children]—it is common these days. I am not the only one to feel shame. 48 A life hisory Plate 8 ‘My relatives are my wealth, my relatives are my children’: old woman with great-grandchild P.
I stayed in that circumcision lodge for seven days, then another seven, then another, a total of twenty-one days, isn’t it? And I came out on the twenty-third day. P. And did you see your parents during the time you were inside? M. I did not see them. But the circumciser gave [my mother] permission saying that if there were no men around, then you, sister-in-law, can take the food to the children. But [he told her], you mustn’t go into the seclusion hut. You just put out your hand, and they will take it from you.