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The Maasai of Africa. By Karen Correa FCS214, Fall 2003. Introduction. Semi-nomadic pastoralists Southern Kenya and northern Tanzania Tropical Savannah Climate Semi-arid lands 61-74 degree F 20-40 inches rain (November – May). General Characteristics. Lifestyle

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the maasai of africa

The Maasai of Africa

By

Karen Correa

FCS214, Fall 2003

introduction
Introduction
  • Semi-nomadic pastoralists
    • Southern Kenya and northern Tanzania
  • Tropical Savannah Climate
    • Semi-arid lands
    • 61-74 degree F
    • 20-40 inches rain (November – May)
general characteristics
General Characteristics
  • Lifestyle
    • Livestock – survival of the Maasai!
    • Wooden and dung houses
    • Blood and milk
    • Male age-system
    • Women were sub-ordinate & subservient
traditional dress appearance
Traditional Dress/Appearance
  • Treated and de-haired animal skins
  • Men: Animal skin tied over one shoulder
    • Warriors: Small calf- or goat-skin capes
    • Iron rings and coils around the neck
    • Black capes after circumcision
  • Women: 2 leather aprons
    • Coils of iron wire on arms and legs
  • Shaved heads except warriors
adornment
Adornment
  • Cicatrisation & Tattooing: Design with thorns and cut with razors
  • Circumcision: Most important ritual for boys
    • Clitoridectomy performed on girls
  • Contortion: From iron coils worn by women
    • Stilt legs & impaired mobility
adornment contd
Adornment (contd.)
  • Piercing: Wore iron coils, chains, wires etc.
    • Elongation of ear lobes and creation of big holes
  • Paint: As a symbol, cure or for protection
    • Use of white paint by circumcised boys
  • Hair dressing: Only warriors wore pigtails
    • Mixture of red paint, animal fat and red earth to style hair used by warriors
dress appearance today
Dress/Appearance Today
  • Bright, colorful red cloth
  • Beaded ornaments are a very important part of the Maasai culture
    • Worn around neck, wrists, and through earlobes
  • Adornment: Circumcision & Piercing
reasons behind the changes
Reasons behind the Changes
  • Increased awareness of the Maasai
  • Wildlife and habitat conservationists
  • Markets for beads
    • Glass and plastic beads sold as fashionable items
summary
Summary
  • One of the most traditional cultures that exist in Africa today!
  • Not much change in lifestyle or clothing.