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Vol. 7 No. 1: April issue

Transfigurations of aging: Everyday self-care in a civil servant milieu of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

  • Andrea Kaiser-Grolimund
July 30, 2018


To date, most social anthropological studies on aging in African contexts focus on care for poor older people provided by related others. The focus of this article is different as it focuses on older people with better financial means than the average: civil servants belonging to Dar es Salaam’s middle class. Furthermore, this contribution shifts the focus from care provided through related others to practices of everyday self-care, the care that these older people provide for themselves with the help of relatives in Tanzania and the USA. In order to stay healthy and cope with diagnosed chronic conditions, older participants in this study engage in physical exercises, eat ‘good food’, and go for regular medical check-ups. This article argues that these health-promoting self-care practices of older urban dwellers reflect changing experiences of aging, health, and care, and point to transfigurations of the social imaginary of aging in Dar es Salaam’s middle class.