By Pat Caplan

ISBN-10: 0203284925

ISBN-13: 9780203284926

ISBN-10: 0203437152

ISBN-13: 9780203437155

ISBN-10: 0415137233

ISBN-13: 9780415137232

African Voices, African Lives explores the realm 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 certainly one of his daughters, he permits us to work out the realm via his eyes, together with the invisisble global of spirits which performs an important function in his lifestyles. this data is accumulated by way 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 in addition as interpreter, bringing in her personal wisdom collected from box info in addition to comparative fabric from different anthropological work.
via applying a mix of kinds - narrative and existence background, ethnographic remark, and the diary stored via Mohammed on the anthropologist's bequest, African Voices African Lives will make a major contribution to present debates in anthropology through 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

Sample text

In the first part of this book, consisting of a single chapter, Mohammed relates the story of his life, with occasional promptings from me, in a text which is largely monological, especially in the latter part when he speaks of the death of his eldest son. This text, which was recorded in 1994, is a chronological narrative of someone looking back over his life. The second part of the book, entitled ‘Mohammed as Ethnographer’, utilises passages from Mohammed’s diary of the 1960s which I have Introduction 21 arranged by topic.

One time I made an effort [to get a load together] and I went on a trip aboard a dhow called Kicheko. I think it was the time when you were here [during the 1960s]. And I went to Dar es Salaam. ’ It was to do with a mazingera spell17 and because the captain was a man who ‘ate’ [other people’s] money but still did not get rich enough [to satisfy himself]. So the owner put another captain there instead who paid all the people properly. But when that first captain left, he put a spell on [the boat] because of being sacked; he wanted that he should be the one to do the work [of being captain].

At that time, the price of a pishi (measure of cloves) was 1 shilling. So if we picked 30 pishi, we would each get 15 shillings. And he had told my [classificatory] brother that we should do this as a team, and split each day’s wages. So we had agreed on that. I told my mother: ‘I have got friends there. But I am not going to tell you their names, nor the place in which they live. And when I go, I won’t even tell which dhow I’m going on, nor from which village I’m leaving. Nor will I even write you a letter to say that I’m in such and such a place.

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African Voices, African Lives: Personal Narratives from a Swahili Village by Pat Caplan


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