Maasai People

Our heritage lies in the simplicity and complexity of our culture. Africa is blessed with a rich cultural heritage that is unique in all ramifications.

We are examining the MAASAI people of Kenya and Tanzania. The Maasai people are a Nicotic ethnic group inhabiting northern, central and southern Kenya as much as northern Tanzania. They are among the best known local populations internationally due to their residence near the Great parks of the African Great Lakes. The Maasai people speak the MAA language. Most Maasai people speak the official language of Kenya and Tanzania, Swahili and English.

The Maasai people belong to the tallest people in the world. They seem taller because of their world-famous high jumps. It is not just random jumping, it is called ‘Adamu’ and carries a deep meaning. They originate from the lower Nile Valley North of Lake Turkana. The Maasai inhabit the African Great Lakes region and arrived via Southern Sudan. According to the 2019 population census, they have risen to about 1,189,522 people.


Maasai culture is centred around the belief that God called (Engai or Enkai) created cattle especially for them and they are the custodians of the world’s cattle. They are known for being culturally distinctive and for their brilliant red blanket and colourful bead jewellery.


Like I said earlier, the Maasai people are monotheistic and their God is named Engai and Enkai, a God who is mostly benevolent and who manifests Himself in the form of different colours, according to the feelings he is experiencing.


The Maasai people depend on cattle for nutrition. Their traditional diet consists of milk, meat, fat, blood, honey and tree bark. They sometimes feed on a blood meal mixed with milk.


The Maasai men are usually polygamous, they believe that the women are meant to stay indoors and do domestic jobs. The women also undergo female genital mutilation. Any woman who does not undergo this process is not considered for marriage. The Men also believe that the women are meant to be poor and so can be tamed.

In conclusion, the Maasai tribe still remains uncivilised and crude, however, civilization and external modern religion are setting in and thus the Maasai people are assuming a new form of lifestyle.


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