By Pat Caplan
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 one among his daughters, he allows us to work out the area via his eyes, together with the invisisble international of spirits which performs an important function in his lifestyles. this knowledge is amassed through 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 accrued from box info in addition to comparative fabric from different anthropological work.
through utilizing a mix of kinds - narrative and existence heritage, ethnographic commentary, and the diary saved by way of Mohammed on the anthropologist's bequest, African Voices African Lives will make an immense contribution to present debates in anthropology through grappling with matters raised through 'personal narratives', authorial authority, and with refexivity.
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Additional info for African Voices, African Lives: Personal Narratives from a Swahili Village
Seleman wanted to get out of this situation and so he claimed that his parents were sick and he had to go home. But actually he went to Dar and got a job at a hotel Figure 2 Mohammed’s and Mwahadia’s children and grandchildren 1994 Mohammed’s story 45 where he worked until he died. ] That is Tatu, the youngest. She was eaten by witchcraft (uchawi). Witches (wanga) came and took her away in her sleep. She never spoke and she died at the age of 5. Her father took her to many hospitals, but she did not get better.
Since divorcing her finally] I got engaged once but it didn’t work out, the one I wanted didn’t want me. ASHA’S ILLNESS: ‘OUR CHILD IS BEING EATEN’ P. You told me before that when Seleman died, you sold a cow. Were those cows your property or shared? M. It was just one cow. Our daughter Asha was ill, at that time she was the wife of someone here in the village. She got sick, Asha, and it was the cultivation season. Around that time, Seleman had come to Mafia with his wife and child. So we told him about her trouble.
9 I became much closer to Mwahadia during this period, perhaps because I was by then married and with children, and in her eyes, had finally become an adult. 10 From this period, there are extensive notes on interviews with both Subira and Mohammed on spirit possession and with the two of them and Mwahadia on other matters. Curiously, given his willingness to appear on camera in 1976, Mohammed had never wanted to be interviewed on tape, but in 1994, on the occasion of my fourth visit, he changed his mind, and most of our conversations were tape-recorded.