LOCATION maasai are found in north central Tanzania and central Kenya. They are located in the center of different tribes by the name, samburu, kikuyu, kamba, chaga, meru,pare, kaguru, gogo, and sukuma..POPULATION the maasai tribe is 350,000 in number. LANGUAGE the maasai tribe speak OLMAA which is a nilotic language. maasai are the most southern nilotic speakers and are linguistically directly related to the Turkana and Kalenjin who are in west central Kenya. FOOD the maasai eat maize bread which is flat like chapatti and ugali, and they drink fresh blood alone,some times with milk, traditional beer or three of them mixed. RELIGION the maasais have traditional religion called LAIBON/diviners. They are consulted when ever misfortune arises. And they have strong traditional herbs for healing which is believed to be the best in the medical world of herbs. Laibon are common selling their herbs in the urban areas of Kenya and Tanzania.
LIFE STYLE maasai are pastoralists and have resisted the reform given to them to live a sedentary life by Kenya and Tanzania governments. They are at the savanna and are people in peace with nature. Cattle are central to maasai economy and are rarely killed may be for rituals only. And most of the the maasai morans/ warriors are sent for cattle rustling and fight with predators for their protection.
The maasai are also traditionally artists and crafts people. The bead work is their main artistic symbol. Traditionally it is a symbol of passage from one age to the next, and in modern times it is their source of income. They have big markets in Kenya every where. In Nairobi only they have four markets of their products.
The maasai tribal governance system is based on circumcision since their system is embedded in life passage. For the men the passage to adult hood is a long and rigorous process. Early on a boy is assigned to a MORAN the group of warriors with whom he will be associated, his age mates. The moran is divided in to junior and senior groups as well as the specific group with whom the boy will be circumcised. Male circumcision takes place with in the age of 13-17. some boys do not have younger brothers old enough to take their place to take care of the cattle. So they stay behind until their younger brother is old enough to do so. When the circumcision takes place; the young man is not allowed to cry or yell. If so, it leads to his entire family disrespect and his parents will be beaten by the members of the whole village for raising such a coward.
Once boys are circumcised, they become junior warriors and live with their age mates in a special dwelling set aside for them. The mother accompanies her circumcised son adorning herself with elaborate beaded ear ornaments that show every one that she is a mother of a warrior. She builds a house for him while he roams about freely with his moran, having sex with women, hunting, growing his hair long and decorating elaborate head dress. The moran becomes so close that they even urinate together. This men are now brothers and share every thing in life, even their wives when they take them later. When the junior moran age, they become senior warriors and the life of the community is centered on them. They are in charge of defense and security and deal with the local governments. This is the most important position in the maasai community.
Collect wood, cook, clean, milk cows, raise children. Girls are circumcised by age 13 to mark their availability for marriage. they too are adults. At this age they immediately marry to an older man to have legitimate children. But till their marriage they are free to have sex with the young warriors, even after marriage it is allowed. They can’t marry the young ones because they don’t have enough castles. Legitimate and illegitimate children are the property of the husband.
If you go to east Africa and see a man with a red dressing and spear in his hand, a long knife in his heap, a rungu/tribal pride stick/ on the other heap and an arrow on his back, this is a maasai man, if some one is with all the above traits and but with a reddish long hair, this is a maasai moran. If some one is a woman with shaved or short hair with too much beads circling her nake and hanged on her ears, then this is a maasai woman a mother of a warrior. And the only culturally surviving tribe in Kenya is the maasai tribe out of 42 tribes. And this trust worthy and honesty oriented tribe is the back bone of Kenyan economy in eco-tourism industry. SOURCES; book; families and their social worlds, by Karen seccombe, page 32. www.africaguide.com/culture/tribes/maasai.htm www.africaguide.com/culture/tribes/maasai.htm www.maasaimara.com/maasai_tribe.asp www.maasaimara.com/maasai_tribe.asp The Maasai | Maasai tribe and culture/under www.google.com/search. The Maasai | Maasai tribe and culture