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 kinfolk, together with his ex-wife and considered one of his daughters, he allows us to determine the realm via his eyes, together with the invisisble global of spirits which performs an important position in his existence. this knowledge is accrued via 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 in addition as interpreter, bringing in her personal wisdom accrued from box info in addition to comparative fabric from different anthropological work.
via making use of a mix of types - narrative and existence historical past, ethnographic commentary, and the diary saved by means of Mohammed on the anthropologist's bequest, African Voices African Lives will make a massive contribution to present debates in anthropology through grappling with concerns raised through 'personal narratives', authorial authority, and with refexivity.
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Extra info for African Voices, African Lives: Personal Narratives from a Swahili Village
But you said your father didn’t want her? M. No, it was my mother [who didn’t approve]. But to my father I said that is the one I want. 11 Only if a woman who is pregnant dies are she and her child buried in the same grave. So I married her. ’ And so I went off to Zanzibar and I stayed there for about two months picking cloves, then I came back. I even got [the things for] the trousseau (sanduku) ready there. And then I came back here. e. Mwahadia] I should come and marry. ’ But the man who had been given the letter did not give it to me.
Was it very painful? M. Extremely. Give me a pencil—now, hold one end of it. I lay on top of one of my grandfathers, the father of my mother’s half brother. My legs were stretched out like this on the bed, and the circumcisor (fundi, lit. ‘expert’) who had been called was sweating, his name was Ahmed, he was from Minazini, he was my classificatory father’s younger brother, and he was related to me through his mother as well. He himself had wanted to do this, he had asked my father that I should be his initiate (mwali).
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. During that time, all we wore were loin-cloths around our hips. P. And you were happy that day when you came out? M. My happiness began that day when I was cut. I had become like my friends. That very month, we danced kidatu, zuiya, mkwaju, aha! The girls were drawn to me, and I to them. And there wasn’t a week in that month when I didn’t meet with them, the girls, and then there was no stopping me (moja kwa moja) after that!