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The Maasai of Africa By Karen Correa FCS214, Fall 2003.

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Presentation on theme: "The Maasai of Africa By Karen Correa FCS214, Fall 2003."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Maasai of Africa By Karen Correa FCS214, Fall 2003

2 Introduction Semi-nomadic pastoralists Semi-nomadic pastoralists Southern Kenya and northern Tanzania Southern Kenya and northern Tanzania Tropical Savannah Climate Tropical Savannah Climate Semi-arid lands Semi-arid lands degree F degree F inches rain (November – May) inches rain (November – May)

3 General Characteristics Lifestyle Lifestyle Livestock – survival of the Maasai! Livestock – survival of the Maasai! Wooden and dung houses Wooden and dung houses Blood and milk Blood and milk Male age-system Male age-system Women were sub-ordinate & subservient Women were sub-ordinate & subservient

4 Traditional Dress/Appearance Treated and de-haired animal skins Treated and de-haired animal skins Men: Animal skin tied over one shoulder Men: Animal skin tied over one shoulder Warriors: Small calf- or goat-skin capes Warriors: Small calf- or goat-skin capes Iron rings and coils around the neck Iron rings and coils around the neck Black capes after circumcision Black capes after circumcision Women: 2 leather aprons Women: 2 leather aprons Coils of iron wire on arms and legs Coils of iron wire on arms and legs Shaved heads except warriors Shaved heads except warriors

5 Adornment Cicatrisation & Tattooing: Design with thorns and cut with razors Cicatrisation & Tattooing: Design with thorns and cut with razors Circumcision: Most important ritual for boys Circumcision: Most important ritual for boys Clitoridectomy performed on girls Clitoridectomy performed on girls Contortion: From iron coils worn by women Contortion: From iron coils worn by women Stilt legs & impaired mobility Stilt legs & impaired mobility

6 Adornment (contd.) Piercing: Wore iron coils, chains, wires etc. Piercing: Wore iron coils, chains, wires etc. Elongation of ear lobes and creation of big holes Elongation of ear lobes and creation of big holes Paint: As a symbol, cure or for protection Paint: As a symbol, cure or for protection Use of white paint by circumcised boys Use of white paint by circumcised boys Hair dressing: Only warriors wore pigtails Hair dressing: Only warriors wore pigtails Mixture of red paint, animal fat and red earth to style hair used by warriors Mixture of red paint, animal fat and red earth to style hair used by warriors

7 Dress/Appearance Today Bright, colorful red cloth Bright, colorful red cloth Beaded ornaments are a very important part of the Maasai culture Beaded ornaments are a very important part of the Maasai culture Worn around neck, wrists, and through earlobes Worn around neck, wrists, and through earlobes Adornment: Circumcision & Piercing Adornment: Circumcision & Piercing

8 Reasons behind the Changes Increased awareness of the Maasai Increased awareness of the Maasai Wildlife and habitat conservationists Wildlife and habitat conservationists Markets for beads Markets for beads Glass and plastic beads sold as fashionable items Glass and plastic beads sold as fashionable items

9 Summary One of the most traditional cultures that exist in Africa today! One of the most traditional cultures that exist in Africa today! Not much change in lifestyle or clothing. Not much change in lifestyle or clothing.

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18 Questions ???


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