Life and its inflections in Kilimanjaro: Becoming and being beyond the metaphoric

Knut Christian MYHRE


This article explores a set of vernacular notions used by the Chagga-speaking people of Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro Region to investigate how life—moo—is an effect of transfers and transformations of life-force or horu that occur among humans, houses, livestock, and crops. Exploring how they engage and involve a plethora of places, substances, conduits, beings, and processes that derive from the notion of moo, the article investigates how these processes afford and constitute the existence, capacity, health, and well-being of subjects and objects. Investigating how these notions concern efforts to allow different beings to emerge and exist, I argue that moo and horu are not metaphors, but concepts in their own right.


Life, dwelling, metaphor, Africa, Tanzania

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/706042