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

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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 members, together with his ex-wife and one in every of his daughters, he allows us to determine the area via his eyes, together with the invisisble global of spirits which performs an important position in his existence. this knowledge is accrued by means of Pat Caplan, the anthropologist, over nearly 3 a long time 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 accrued from box information in addition to comparative fabric from different anthropological work.
by way of applying a mix of kinds - narrative and lifestyles background, ethnographic statement, and the diary stored through Mohammed on the anthropologist's bequest, African Voices African Lives will make a massive contribution to present debates in anthropology via grappling with concerns raised by means of 'personal narratives', authorial authority, and with refexivity.

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Their second child…is now about 11 and lives with her mother…. 18 Our next child was Asha who has been married several times. She first married in Pwani village and had two children, a boy and a girl. Both are now married and live in Dar, and the girl has a child of her own. Then she [Asha] got divorced and re-married in the south of the island, where she had a boy. That marriage did not last, and she was divorced again. Her third husband was a Minazini man. She got sick and thought it was because her co-wife had sent a spirit (shaitani) after her.

Even the children of Sheikhs. Supppose that your daughter comes to you and says, or perhaps she can’t say but you know anyway, that she is pregnant, and she hasn’t got a husband, what do you say to her? M. I don’t say anything. She is the one who knows that it happened. P. 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?

P. But what exactly is the man’s job? M. A man has the right to do many kinds of work. First of all, if she is married, a woman doesn’t have any work at all on her own account; all the work she does is done for the man. She washes his clothes and says ‘Ready’, she prepares food, she gets a coconut and grates it, and cooks [the rice] and makes the curry. And he gets on with his own things, or he rests. 14 P. But what rights (haki) do women have? M. To do what her husband tells her. Those jobs should be done by women, otherwise it’s wrong (kosa).

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