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 family, together with his ex-wife and one in all his daughters, he permits us to work out the area via his eyes, together with the invisisble international of spirits which performs an important position in his existence. this knowledge is amassed by means of Pat Caplan, the anthropologist, over nearly 3 many years of speaking and writing to one another. She acts not just as translator and editor, but additionally as interpreter, bringing in her personal wisdom accumulated from box facts in addition to comparative fabric from different anthropological work.
by way of employing a mix of kinds - narrative and lifestyles background, ethnographic remark, and the diary stored via Mohammed on the anthropologist's bequest, African Voices African Lives will make an incredible contribution to present debates in anthropology via grappling with concerns raised via 'personal narratives', authorial authority, and with refexivity.
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Additional info for African Voices, African Lives: Personal Narratives from a Swahili Village
Yes, [I heard a story that] the wife of a man who was a twin knew that she had a brother-in-law. But one time when they were all in Zanzibar, she actually thought that her husband’s twin brother was her husband! CHILDHOOD: ‘THE ORIGIN OF MY LIFE AS I UNDERSTAND IT’ M. Are you ready? Then, Patricia, I will give you the origin of my life as I understand it. In those days, when I was still a child, I was busy with my work of fishing. Not with a canoe, or traps, it was just pastimes (nyemo) with my companions.
And were you taught songs and so on? M. No, our jando was just in our house. Mohammed’s story 35 Plate 4 ‘The thing that I wanted’: child being carried to be circumcised P. And were you afraid? M. Should I be afraid of the thing that I wanted? The young women wanted me because I was already grown up. But I couldn’t approach them (lit. 9 I hadn’t been circumcised. I hadn’t been to the jando. For that reason I felt ashamed. I didn’t want to be teased. P. So, what was it like that day? Was it very painful?
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. , they slaughtered the cow and cooked rice. And that feast was a joint feast [for the wedding] together with the circumcision ritual.