1st Edition

African Voices, African Lives Personal Narratives from a Swahili Village

Edited By Pat Caplan Copyright 1997
    284 Pages
    by Routledge

    288 Pages
    by Routledge

    African Voices, African Lives explores the world of 'Mohammed', a swahili peasant living on Mafia Island, Tanzania. Through his own words - some written, some spoken - and those of his relatives, including his ex-wife and one of his daughters, he enables us to see the world through his eyes, including the invisisble world of spirits which plays a significant role in his life. This information is gathered by Pat Caplan, the anthropologist, over almost three decades of talking and writing to each other. She acts not only as translator and editor, but also as interpreter, bringing in her own knowledge gathered from field data as well as comparative material from other anthropological work.
    By utilising a mixture of styles - narrative and life history, ethnographic observation, and the diary kept by Mohammed at the anthropologist's bequest, African Voices African Lives will make an important contribution to current debates in anthropology by grappling with issues raised by 'personal narratives', authorial authority, and with refexivity.

    Prologue - A Special Prayer; 1. Introduction: Anthropology and Personal Narratives PART I: A LIFE HISTORY 2. Mohammed's Story PART II: MOHAMMED AS ETHNOGRAPHE: THE DIARY Introduction 3. Making a Living: Land and Sea 4. The Life Cycle: Relationships, Conflict and Emotions PART III: OTHER TEXTS, OTHER VOICES: THREE ENCOUNTERS Introduction 5. Encounter One: 1965-7 6. Encounter Two: 1976 7. Encounter Three: 1985 PART IV: THE SEARCH FOR KNOWLEDGE Introduction 8. Dealing with Affliction 1: Explanation 9. Dealing with Affliction 2: Spirits 10. Encounter Four: 1994 11. Conclusion


    Pat Caplan is Professor of Anthropology at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London.

    'A worthy book, an experiment in style which contains some insights into a man's character and into the difficulties of life in 1990's Tanzania.' - Maia Green, Oral History