Primary Source Texts

In July and August 2009, I interviewed people in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar Town about a legendary figure called Popobawa, a mythological creature who sodomizes people in their sleep. Later I wrote a book about my findings, Popobawa: Tanzanian Talk, Global Misreadings.[1] Because the Tanzanians I spoke with about Pobobawa were all either Muslim or Christian, many of them talked about how their religious beliefs related to their belief in or skepticism about Popobawa.

The following sources are transcripts of excerpts from my interviews. I have simplified them to remove pauses and some errors, and substituted pseudonyms for my interlocuters or other names that could be used to identify them. The following table explains some symbols you may see in the transcripts.

Symbol Meaning
@ a pulse of laughter
: vowel lengthening
wor- a cut off word, i.e. when the speaker starts to say one word and then restarts with a different word
a cut off phrase, i.e. when the speaker starts a sentence one way and then restarts another way
italics code-switched words (not in Swahili)
#word transcriber’s best guess at a word that is hard to hear
# unintelligible syllable
ALL CAPS a syllable spoken with emphasis

  1. Thompson, Katrina Daly. 2017. Popobawa: Tanzanian Talk, Global Misreadings. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.


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Dini Afrika ya Mashariki by Katrina Daly Thompson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.