Shambala: The Constitution of a Traditional State

Shambala: The Constitution of a Traditional State

Shambala: The Constitution of a Traditional State

Shambala: The Constitution of a Traditional State

Excerpt

The field work upon which this study is based was carried out by my wife and myself between August, 1956, and August, 1957. Aside from an absence of three weeks while my wife gave birth to a daughter, we spent the whole of this period in the Usambara Mountains. The bulk of my research was conducted from two bases. The first seven months of the study were mainly spent in the northern sector of the mountains where I concentrated my attention on the Mlalo basin which is an area remote from modern communications and extremely densely populated. Approximately the last four months of the study were spent in the south in the vicinity of Vuga, the traditional capital of the Shambala state.

Relatively soon after my arrival in the Usambara Mountains I was fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of Mr. Sozi Kimella Daffa, a young man who became my patient teacher of Swahili, my interpreter of Shambala, clerk, collector of texts, and collaborator in nearly all phases of field work. With Sozi's aid the work was carried out in a combination of English and Swahili and texts were collected in Shambala to be translated in the evenings. I did not find that one year was sufficient time for me to become fluent in Shambala and I take full responsibility for shortcomings and errors which may exist in my understanding of Shambala culture because of my missing of idioms and metaphors which are not readily translatable and which may only be caught after long and deep experience in a language.

The traditional techniques of the anthropologist comprised the primary means of collecting the data of this study. These include open-ended and directed interviews with individuals, observation of social interaction which was usually followed immediately by interviews with participants, the collection of genealogical materials, short biographies of selected informants, the use of detailed questionnaires intended to elicit specific information from certain categories of individuals, the collection of village census materials and the study of government record . . .

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