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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 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 function in his existence. this knowledge 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.
through utilizing a mix of kinds - narrative and lifestyles background, ethnographic remark, and the diary saved via Mohammed on the anthropologist's bequest, African Voices African Lives will make an immense 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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Extra resources for African Voices, African Lives: Personal Narratives from a Swahili Village

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Yet, on the other hand, writing a personal narrative is perhaps worth a try because the prize is very great: that of some degree of transcendence of difference, of reaffirmation of common humanity. This sounds rather grandiose, but it can be thought of at the simplest level—the successful ‘human interest’ story in a newspaper or soap opera on television works when it enables the reader/viewer to identify with the subject, to find commonalities in their lives and their predicaments; in short, to empathise, even though differences between them may be profound.

M. Yes, except that my grandmother on my father’s side, after being divorced, did not marry again but lived with her daughter Mwatika in a neighbouring village. My daughter Miza is called after that woman Mwatika, her father’s sister, who was also nicknamed3 Miza. e. his own sister] died before she was born, so I called my daughter after her [see genealogy]. P. How many children were you altogether? M. I’ll tell you, but don’t forget that I haven’t finished telling you about the kind of life that we led.

Have you heard [what I’ve said]? So you are bathed, and the swelling goes down, and more medicine is put on it, until you see that your body is quite clean, and the wound has healed. Then they say that the children are ready to be brought out, so let us fix the day. It’s usually around the fifteenth day. So they fix a day to have a meeting to arrange to bring the children out. And how do they plan? They say after the third mogo we should put rice out to dry, then we pound it on the next day, then we sleep over and the following day we hold the feast.

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