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 kin, together with his ex-wife and considered one of his daughters, he permits us to determine the realm via his eyes, together with the invisisble international of spirits which performs an important position in his lifestyles. this knowledge is accrued by way 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 facts in addition to comparative fabric from different anthropological work.
by means of applying a mix of types - narrative and lifestyles historical past, ethnographic statement, and the diary stored by means of Mohammed on the anthropologist's bequest, African Voices African Lives will make an incredible contribution to present debates in anthropology through grappling with matters raised through 'personal narratives', authorial authority, and with refexivity.
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Extra resources for African Voices, African Lives: Personal Narratives from a Swahili Village
They all came to look at her, and they made themselves possessed. When they were possessed, they said, ‘Our child is being eaten, but we do not know why. We do not know the people (makongwe) who have done this. e. the patient)22 met with a spirit (jini) [by chance], it was not sent to her. ’ They said that in her goings around she had met up with a spirit whose area it was. It was not as if she had been sent a spirit, it was just that they happened to meet and the bad smell (vumba) of the spirit got her.
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? M. Extremely. Give me a pencil—now, hold one end of it.
It was not as if she had been sent a spirit, it was just that they happened to meet and the bad smell (vumba) of the spirit got her.