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Dak Art Dakar

African Culture

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The Nomadic Maasai

NOVEMBER 25, 2015 AFRICAN PEOPLE LEAVE A COMMENT
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It’s difficult for me to write a blog about Africa without mentioning one of its most photographed tribes people (and known to many touristsin the Western world-the Maasai). Why is this tribe in particular known more than others around the continent? Because the Maasai inhabit the area of Kenya and North Tanzania, places where National Game Parks and preserves are located. Tourists wishing to see our native African animals in their natural habitat visit these places frequently. The Maasai are a friendly people, and known for their ease mingling with people from the outside. In fact, it is becoming more difficult for this tribe to adhere to their nomadic lifestyle and deal with pressures from the modern world. Some Maasai have left the tribe for jobs including selling items in local stores, tour guides, security and other modern occupations.

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Tribal Culture

  • They are a Patriarchal society, meaning it’s lead by men. The eldest male tribesmen make all-important decisions.
  • The wealth of a man is determined by the amount of children and cattle he has. The more of both, the richer he is. If he lacks one of these, he is considered “poor.’
  • They practice polygamy and polyandry. Men have many wives, to bare more children and women are considered married to all the men of the tribe.
  • They practice a monotheistic religion. They worship one deity, called “Enkai.” There are some Maasai who have adopted Islam and Christianity.
  • A central figure to tribal life is called the “laibon.” This man practices shaman healing and is known for predicting weather and other prophecies.
  • The Maasai do not believe in burying their dead. They think the dead bodies contaminate the earth. Often times, they will cover the dead with animal fats and blood, and set them out for scavengers. If scavengers reject a body, it brings shame to the family.
  • Maasai herd cattle, sheep and goats. Special celebrations include lamb slaughter, and the eating and drinking of raw meat and blood.
  • Their diets consist of meat. Included in this are rice, potatoes, and cabbage. They also consume porridge, maize and beans.
  • They believe in body adornment. Ears are pierced with thorns, tusks and other sharp objects. Heavy earrings of beads and metal are intended to stretch the earlobe. Piercings of the upper parts of the ear are common practice. The Maasai wear colorful beads around the neck and wrists.
  • Between the ages of 15-25, young people must undergo the ritualistic practice of male and female circumcision. These are public rituals signifying adulthood. The procedure is conducted without anesthesia and with sharp knives. The practice of female circumcision has become a hot button health and human rights violation according to people in the modern world. Despite protests, it’s still a common practice.
  • The Maasai number just over 800,000.
  • They speak Maa, but some are fluent in Swahili and English.
  • The governments of Kenya and Tanzania have attempted to intervene in the Maasai nomadic lifestyle, encouraging them to live a more senditary lifestyle. So far, the Maasai continue to resist this notion, and continue to practice their lifestyle and culture among an ever changing and invasive modern world.

Senegal: My Journey to the West African Nation

NOVEMBER 18, 2015 AFRICAN COUNTRIES LEAVE A COMMENT
I’m not the type to stay put for long. I’ve had many opportunities to travel all over the world, from Europe to the States, Central and South American to Southeast Asia. But, I have a huge African continent to explore! I try to find some time in my busy work schedule to put aside a

Rally, Rally Round the Dakar Rally!

NOVEMBER 14, 2015 DAKAR RALLEY LEAVE A COMMENT
For all you rally fans, I am sure you are aware that the most popular rally race in the world originated right here in Africa. It all began in the 1970s when a Frenchman got lost on his motorcycle in the desert. Out of this frightening experience, emerged the concept of survival in challenging conditions

Griot’s: It’s a Family “Business”

NOVEMBER 10, 2015 AFRICAN CULTURE LEAVE A COMMENT
If you are lucky, you may have that great grandparent or an old uncle that loves to tell family stories around the dinner table. For me, it’s my Dad’s cousin Javie, who enjoys sharing stories about my great grandparents and their adventures running a farm in rural South Africa. The stories are often humorous, and

Madagascar- Lemurs and Such

NOVEMBER 6, 2015 AFRICAN COUNTRIES LEAVE A COMMENT
Madagascar brings me back to thoughts of my childhood. In the early years of my education, I remember my teacher talking about African geography and some of the diverse places on our continent. I was intrigued with the idea of traveling to Madagascar, after hearing my teacher talk about the indigenous plants and animals that

Modern Day Morocco-A Country in North Africa

NOVEMBER 2, 2015 AFRICAN COUNTRIES LEAVE A COMMENT
As you will see, this piece of writing will vary from the rest. North Africa has its own unique history, influences and culture. The nations that make up North Africa are diverse in politics, culture, beliefs and food. I’ve chosen Morocco as a country to tell you about, since it’s the only one I’ve had

The Commonality of African Masks

OCTOBER 21, 2015 AFRICAN CULTURE LEAVE A COMMENT
The native people have adorned traditional African masks for thousands of years. Every tribe has their own unique masks that are used for specific celebrations or rituals. There are too many to list here, so instead I’d like to talk about the commonality of the masks. I’m not referring to the ones available for purchase

The Slow Assent Of The East African Art Scene

OCTOBER 15, 2015 AFRICAN CULTURE LEAVE A COMMENT
What do you think of when you hear the words “African Art?” If you are like most people from around the world, you may picture small woodcarvings of people or places. You may envisionprimitive style paintings of Saharan landscapes, animals or tribal cultures. The art scene in Africa has struggled for some time. Places like