The Maa Speaking Society.

Tanzania Safari Article

                                             The Maa speaking society.

 Maa is the language spoken by the Maasai people. Maasai is an ethic group of people found in Tanzania and Kenya, People around the world are fascinated by the Maasai people because of their distinctive, jumping dance and bright clothing. The Maasai is the most famous and well known tribe in East Africa. The way this people preserve their way of life and the special rules of life that distinguish them from all other tribal communities.  The origin of the Maasai  people is  said to be in South Sudan were they adopted their customs like the circumcision, some vocabularies and age set system of social organization from their neighboring Cushitic speaking groups. This tribe like to reside in undeveloped savannah lands thus why many of the are found near the game parks and African Great lakes where they graze their cattle on the virgin lands. They are the Nilotic speakers together with Samburu, Kalenjin and Turkana. Many Maasai also speaks the official languages of Tanzania and Kenya the Swahili and English.

The Maa speaking society do have excisions, feasts for circumcision and marriage celebrations which acts as holidays in their Maasai calendar. When they gather together they sing and dance together celebrating on the occasion that gathered them together. Circumcision is done to both male and female in the society as they perform ceremony and circumcise  young ladies for those who don’t get circumcised they either don’t get married at all or worthy of much reduced bride price. Also in this ceremonies children of age six and seven get traditional tattoos and get their ears pierced.  To the little Maasai girls tattoos are considered a beautiful natural decoration to them.

 In the past times Maasai did not bury the dead believing that it was harmful to the soil so the dead body was left in the bushes for the scavengers the only people how were buried were the great chiefs but present days Maasai people bury their community members.


 Ngai is god

Maasai people have always been monotheistic and they believe in god called Ngai or Enkai. To the Maasai Ngai is the creator of everything. They believe that Ngai was the creature of the sky and earth together and owned all the cattle that lived on it. And The Maasai believe that they were sent on earth to prevent the cattle from dying. Currently due to interactions with other communities and tribes there are now Christian and Muslim Maasai

The Maasai and lions

In the past days Maasai warrior the morans hunted lions as a sign of strength. They only hunted the male lions either in groups or solo using spears and sometimes they took shield with them. Once the lion population declined they stopped hunting them and since then Tanzania law forbidden the hunting of lion in exception killing it in a course of defense when they attack grazing cattle or the bomas. The strictness of Maasai laws and the unquestioning obedience of elders, as well as the commitment to a nomadic way of life, allow them to live in their own manner while other peoples have been greatly influenced by civilization.

  The Maasai dressing style.

This tribe dress up on very bright colored shuka a fabric that draped over their undergarments and held together with a belt. For the women they dress up on colorful lesos with bright colored necklaces, earrings, bracelets, sandals, anklets made of colorful beads. From the bright colors that Maasai garments and beads has each has special meaning as red represents bravery and blood, yellow representing growth and energy, orange representing friendship and generosity, green representing nourishment and home, white representing peace, blue representing coolness and calmness and black symbolizes brotherhood and identity as people. All the beading is done by the women in the society and they were the beads according to age and status as the Moran warriors wear different body necklaces compared to the elders and young boys. And the married women wear long necklace with blue beads. A Maasai man can recognize a single lady or someone who is married by the way they are dressed.  All the beading activities are handmade and the beadwork has been passed from generations to generations.

Individual task in the society

 Every Maasai man knows his place in the social hierarchy and follows the rules. So do all the women and children who are taught to observe traditions from a young age. Inside the Maasai community each individual is responsible to perform a certain duty. As the young boys age of six and seven are sent solo to graze goats and sheep without adults nearby and the older boys are trusted with the cattle. When the village needs a new chief elder, he is chosen from among the younger elders. The eldest male of the clan strictly enforces customs, resolves disputes and conflicts, and makes decisions about migration, and deals with other key matters in the community.  The elders strictly control their traditions in the village.  The women’s task is to do the milking of the cow, water fetching, firewood collection and all other general house works. Women also build their huts and do the repairing of the walls and roofs.  The beads work is women job.

The Maasai high jumps dance

The high jump dance is called the ‘Adamu’ this is not just a random dance it has a deeper meaning to the Maasai warriors for the jump is there to showcase their strength and attract the Maasai ladies. The higher one jumps the more attractive they become to the ladies. The Maasai men seems taller because of this this high jumps. This dance is performed mostly during the special ceremonies called ‘Eunoto’ where the large group of Maasai boys of the same age get circumcised and become young warrior. Even when travelers visit their villages they do dance the adamu dance. 

The love for cattle.

The Maasai lifestyle is centered on their cattle. Their only concern is the livestock that they own the more cows the Maasai man owns the wealthier he becomes around his society and that the more women he can afford. A man that has many cattle may have even thirty wives. The Maasai people keep cows, goat, sheep and donkeys. The donkeys are there so as to help the women with the house works like carrying water and fire woods also when carrying goods to and from the market. Maasai men spend almost all their adulthood gathering cattle, this semi nomadic tribe when gathering their cattle they do perform sustainable seasonal rotation. The Maasai depend on the livestock as their primary source of food as they eat meat, drink milk daily and drink blood on special occasion and ceremonies like circumcision ceremonies and when women give birth. The cattle bomas are made up of sturdy fence of thorny vachelia branches to protect the animals from predators at night. 

The Maasai people are always capable of walking great distance in the bushes with only spears that are made flexible and of various shapes in case of any predator trying to harm them or their cattle. They always practice throwing spears and the best one can throw a spear at a distance of up to a hundred meters.

How friendly Maasai the Maasai people are.

The Maasai people are very proud and always appreciates chances to share their culture with other communities and visitors. They usually share knowledge like how to make beads and their stories to the people who visits them. When one visits their village or bomas you get a genuine experience of their culture and they also benefit also in term of connections and interaction with other people with different new things to offer. They also benefit financially for when one visit them they will purchase local handmade products which may supports their local economy.

Even though the Maasai live a simple life, they thrive in spite of our quick developing world. Maasai now own business in town, they search for employments and some involve in politics.


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