Poverty and subjectivity in Chewa life is discussed through ethnographic material from a village in Tete Province in Central Mozambique. The farmers in question categorize themselves as not being persons in contrast to the wage earners that are persons. The self is analysed through historic and present processes that create the intersubjective life that these farmers are a part of. Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a lot of challenges at hand - the area discussed here not excluded. This thesis' focus is the majority population of self-subsistent farmers, and it is their construction of their life worlds that is under scrutiny. A life situation in poverty is documented through measures such as life expectancy, illiteracy rates and child mortality, but more importantly and vividly through the villagers' own stories. The self is analysed with point of departure from an observed inferior complex and a conceptual space of negation and sense of insufficiency. The ultimate sorrow for the villagers is the limited opportunities to send the children to secondary school. There is a strong consciousness about the observation that education provides paid labour and this is the only source to a better life and a respected place in the social scheme. The lack of control over the dialogue of goods is partly compensated by the local encompassment of products. Similar observations are made concerning the practice of nhau , a male secret society and the sense of security that owning your own land gives.
The balancing the villagers exercise between the sphere of money and the sphere of ritual and land leave them in the end in a situation of inability to act. The way things are they are not able to help their children to become persons. In addition to the overriding concepts of subjectivity, identity and intersubjectivity the categorisation of not being a person is discussed with the help of the terms control and balancing and even more specifically understood through dignity and disconnectedness.