By Pat Caplan
African Voices, African Lives explores the realm 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 in all 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 lifestyles. this data is amassed by means of Pat Caplan, the anthropologist, over virtually 3 a long time of speaking and writing to one another. She acts not just as translator and editor, but additionally as interpreter, bringing in her personal wisdom collected from box information in addition to comparative fabric from different anthropological work.
via making use of a mix of kinds - narrative and lifestyles heritage, ethnographic statement, and the diary stored by way of Mohammed on the anthropologist's bequest, African Voices African Lives will make a major contribution to present debates in anthropology by means of grappling with concerns raised through 'personal narratives', authorial authority, and with refexivity.
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Additional info for African Voices, African Lives: Personal Narratives from a Swahili Village
It was Seleman’s job to sell things and his accounts were always OK but his friend’s were short because he was stealing. Seleman wanted to get out of this situation and so he claimed that his parents were sick and he had to go home. But actually he went to Dar and got a job at a hotel Figure 2 Mohammed’s and Mwahadia’s children and grandchildren 1994 Mohammed’s story 45 where he worked until he died. ] That is Tatu, the youngest. She was eaten by witchcraft (uchawi). Witches (wanga) came and took her away in her sleep.
I went on one trip with them to the Rufiji Delta to buy bananas, but after that I stopped working on boats for a long time and did not accept offers to sail. ] Then there was a big dhow (jahazi) of Chole Mjini [in the south of Mafia], it was the one which I told you about with the captain who gave me such trouble (see p. 41). So I stopped travelling in that [as well], and went to another one called Kubalii and the captain was called Saidi. [One time] we set off with only a small load, although that boat could take sixty bags of coconuts.
I’ll tell you, but don’t forget that I haven’t finished telling you about the kind of life that we led. P. Yes, we can continue that. But first tell me about your siblings. M. Do you mean from the same father and mother? P. Let’s start with them. M. First I’ll tell you about the children my mother had by her first husband. …She married a man from the Mrima coast of the mainland, [although] his home place (bandari, literally ‘harbour’) was Pemba Island. He came here, he arrived [disembarked] in Pwani [a neighbouring village].
African Voices, African Lives: Personal Narratives from a Swahili Village by Pat Caplan