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 family, 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 data is collected through 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 collected from box facts in addition to comparative fabric from different anthropological work.
by means of applying a mix of kinds - narrative and lifestyles heritage, ethnographic remark, and the diary stored through Mohammed on the anthropologist's bequest, African Voices African Lives will make an incredible contribution to present debates in anthropology through 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
M. No, she was the last one (kifunga mimba, lit. ‘the closing of the womb’). P. So that you were seven children who had the same parents (baba mmoja, mama mmoja, lit. ‘one father, one mother’). And did your father have other wives? M. He married two other women. The first one, I wasn’t born then—I only heard about it. He did not have children by her. He married again, I forget the woman’s first name, and did not have children by her either and he divorced her. So my father had seven [live] children by one woman, and my mother had ten children by three husbands.
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. P. And were you done [circumcised] on your own? M. There was another one, the son of my brother, but both of us were big, I bigger than him. P. Do you have any idea how old you were? M. Perhaps 15, or maybe 12. P. Were you already pubescent (baleghe)?
But won’t you see her stomach? M. And by that time, hasn’t she already been caught (kunaswa)? What can I do to her? P. You can’t do anything. But you have grandchildren who have fathers, and some who don’t. Is there any difference for you? M. All of them are my property, my children. I don’t dislike this one or that, they are all the same to me. My relatives are my wealth, my relatives are my children [and their children]. Then I divorced Mwahadia. I gave her her formal divorce (kipande), Mohammed’s story 49 and she stayed thirteen years without marrying again.