By Nicholas Drayson

For three years, widower Mr Malik secretly loves Rose Mbikwa, chief of weekly fowl walks. Quiet Malik is extraordinary just for his cautious combover. Malik is determined to invite Rose to the Nairobi Hunt membership Ball (premier Kenyan social event), till his university nemesis, flashy jokester Harry Khan, competes for Rose. A bet is determined.

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Extra resources for A Guide to the Birds of East Africa

Sample text

The genesis of our text will be the subject of the next chapter. A Text: Made, Not Found 2 The text is there, easily accessible on the Internet. Why not get on with the commentary instead of burdening, as I am about to do, the reader with the story of how the text was u u made? After all, a scientist who works with a microscope is not expected to include in the report of his or her findings a technical description and history of the microscope. The answer is that ethnographic texts are not instruments of investigation except in a vague, figurative sense.

Ethnography is a transgressive practice (as I argued in the introduction). Texts are among the objectivations needed for producing ethnographic knowledge. They are crucial in language-centered approaches and they support, not exclusively but crucially, our claims to ethnographic objectivity. ∞ These general and sketchy thoughts on texts and ethnography provide the necessary background for a report on the problems and challenges I faced in transposing the recording of the conversation with Kahenga into a A Text written document.

He told me he had forgotten to bring a 29 An Event 30 ‘‘chicken in a basket,’’ without bothering to explain. Upon reflection he must have meant a live chicken that was to be sacrificed as part of the ritual. Perhaps this was not an obligatory part of the procedure. At any rate, he was so casual about it that I suggested we move on to discussing samples of medicinal plants (48). But then it was my turn to remember something else: Kahenga had also used water. First he had poured some into each hole and then he had made the round of the lot, pouring or sprinkling more.

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