Maasai Tribe Portraits


The Massai tribes of Southern Kenya and northern Tanzania are the most authentic tribes of the region. Their popularity is attributed being one of the last warrior tribes of the world and their proximity of the neighbouring game parks.

The Massai tribes are thought to have migrated down the Nile river and into northern Kenya in the 15th century before continuing south into the rift valley conquering all tribes in their path. During the 19th century they occupied a vast area including almost all of the rift valley where they grazed their cattle. Their population has since declined from various reasons but they still occupy many parts of this area.

 

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As one of the worlds last true warrior cultures they still go through all training and rituals in graduating to adulthood. The Boys are taught by their fathers and the elders about the practice of becoming a warrior and also the values, customs and laws they’ll ned to know as an elder. It is his responsibility to provide for and protect his family and herd from all predators. The women are taught to build houses and also to cook clean and provide for the family by the mother and elders.

The Maasai traditionally dressed in animal skins but since the 1960’s they have adopted wearing coloured sheets known as Shuka which are wrapped around the body and adorned by intricate beadwork. Their their footwear also changed in recent time from cow hide to crafting sandals out of discarded car tires. In addition to their dress the maasai also pierce and stretch their earlobes. Women shave their heads and often remove their two front bottom teeth.

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