8 things you need to know about Kenya's Maasai culture

8 things you need to know about Kenya's Maasai culture

June 07, 2018

Interview with Kakuta Ole Maimai, Managing Director, Maasai Association.


What does Maasai mean? Maa speaking people.

Maa is the language of theMaasai

What are the most notable things that make​Maasai culturedifferent​from western culture?

The pastoral lifestyle of keeping herds of goats and cows that is the backbone of the Maasai economy. The Maasai clothing is distinctively different from Western clothes. Maasai love to wear red shukas (red robes) that signify red soil and danger. Maasai live in mud huts.

What is the significance behind the stunning Maasai necklaces & beadwork?

Intricate beadwork and stunning Maasai necklaces have been an art form for years. Large necklaces are a sign of beauty and one’s expression of wealth. The more beads you wear the more goats and cows you have. Goats and cows are sold for money and the money is used to buy beads from local trading markets.

Do Maasai really still drink milk and blood solely?

For years the Maasai consumed blood, milk and meat daily. Nowadays Maasai no longer live on a strict diet of meat, milk, and blood. Maasai have started to broaden their diet by eating other non-dairy produce. Although meat and milk still dominate a Maasai diet, blood is consumed on special occasion only.

Are lions really afraid of Maasai people?

Yes, lions are really afraid of the Maasai because Maasai mastered the art of hunting them using spears. For years it was a rite of passage for Maasai warriors to hunt lions. The lion hunt activity was meant to show advance hunting skills and individual bravery. Maasai warriors dress in red and that’s why the lions run into hiding when they see the Maasai.

What similarities do you see between US children ​and Maasai children?

Maasai and western alike have a desire to go to school and get education for a better life.

Do you see similarities between Maasai parents and US?

Shared dreams for healthy and happy families.

What important things would you like people to know about Maasai culture and the people?

It would be great for people to appreciate unique Maasai tradition and culture. Different from US kids, Maasai children have chores. For example, children help their parents take care of goats and cows when they are not in school. Maasai no longer hunt lions for a right of passage. Instead warriors have become lion guardians and are helping to protect the remaining lions in the Maasai country. Maasai have welcome formal schooling for their children. They want their children to go to school and get educated. Education will enable the Maasai to make better-informed decision that affect their destiny. Maasai Association is building schools for the Maasai children and bringing clean water and health care services for the Maasai.

More about Kakuta: http://www.maasai-association.org/kakuta.html

Maasai Association: http://www.maasai-association.org/

Maasai Association Simba Camp in Kenya: http://www.maasaicamp.com/


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