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Some Interesting Facts You Need Know About The Maasai Warriors

The Maasai tribe is an ethnic group inhabiting Northern Tanzania and Southern Kenya. The Maasai has turned into a symbol for the wealth and diversity. Their customs, beliefs and routines have changed little since the beginning of history. The way they live now, even as so much is changing around the world, the way their society is organized, the pride that ties them and keeps them strong, these still remain very similar to that of their ancestors. Their lifestyle is still bears a striking resemblance to that of their ancestors, their society is structured in the same way and modernity has not influenced them much yet. They’re semi-nomads: their livestock is their source of livelihood. Their entire society revolves around their cows, sheep and goats, as it did their ancestors.

maasai tribesmen
Maasai Tribesmen – © Nathan C Wade/flickr

Warriors. All the young men in their community, are responsible for protecting animals from wild predators and enemies, and, nowadays, of taking cows too far away fields during the dry season. Women and kids take care of goats and sheep and the stronger animals can stay close to the home also during the dry season in this way continually giving milk and meat to their families. Elders keep peace and settle disputes in their society, settling debate, managing peace, consulting with neighbouring tribes and nowadays with the local administration. Being a warrior is cool and fun, it has many benefits yet also numerous obligations. A significant number of them remember those times as the best in their lives-which is by no means an easy task. To become a warrior they need to exhibit their bravery: they need to be circumcised before the entire community, without wincing or squinting their eyes or giving some other sign showing pain. All things considered, if they can’t stand fearlessly such tolerable pain, how might they persuade the older men that they will risk their lives to secure their animals and their community?

young maasai women
Maasai People – © Janette Girod/flickr

After circumcision they have an entire month to heal. They dress up in black, and each residence they visit has to butcher a sheep to feed them and honour them. They spend their days chasing young ladies, in a more literal sense than what you think: they need to pursue them to get special rings that they make for the warriors, and the more they have the better. This activity helps them recover. Once the circumcision time frame is over, they become full warriors. They now have a place with an age group, a group of peers with whom they share obligations and duties. They have strict rules to adhere to: They can’t eat meat at home, rather they need to go out to hunt and slaughter an animal with other warriors-this is to prevent them from eating the meat meant for the family; they can’t eat or drink alone, with not less than one or more warriors-so that even the poorest warriors can also be well fed and help amid fights or battles; they can’t drink alcohol or take any medication: they should always be ready and prepared to spring to action without hesitation to safeguard their livestock or secure their tribe; they collect fines for the entire age group if any of them is disrespectful to a senior, or they abuse animals, or some other terrible behaviour. They need to help each individual from the group when their cows are lost. They need to take their families’ cattle to greener pastures during the dry season-this also implies spending about 3-4 months in the bush, a long way from home and from any town. Be that as it may, in the rainy season, when the cows are at home and the young men can care for them, the warriors spend their days resting and heading off to the numerous ceremonies that happen in the community-circumcisions, weddings, graduations. They move and sing, and jump.

After around 15-20 years from when the age group is formed, another group of warriors begins to shape, their age groups are closed and they graduate to junior elders. They pass the symbol of their power to the warriors to come, and begin learning the skills of the elders. Life becomes noticeably simpler, they can invest more energy at home with their family, but they usually think back with eagerness to their days as warriors.

Maasai People
Maasai warriors and women – © alexandra/flickr

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