Cassava; Manioc; Uxorilocality; Episodic time; Replication; Women; Waiwai


Through an ethnographic examination of the shared capacities of cassava and womanhood for what I term growth and replication, I argue that Waiwai sociality seeks to curtail the trajectory of life towards finite death through the intervening act of cutting and replanting or replicating life in a vegetatively inspired form of the “episodic present” (Strathern 2021). An extended vignette demonstrates how these features of Waiwai sociality take shape in mother-daughter and sister relations at the core of uxorilocal residential living, and in a senior woman’s reckonings with illness, death, and social change.