Free Essay. A Safari in the Dark Continent

Published: 2023-01-13
Free Essay. A Safari in the Dark Continent
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Culture Anthropology Ethnography Community
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1331 words
12 min read

Before I start off this paper I need to say this is my favorite holiday of all time, and Yes that includes Christmas. Having said that we can now dive in with analyzing and reflecting on the holiday, we are going to have so much fun. As we come around to know much about this holiday, lets first define certain terms that will be used in the paper. The first-word being, 'Ethnography' and this very name have different meanings, one it can be said to be, an observation of a certain group of people in a particular setting where they are in their natural environment so as to understand their needs. Two, the word itself originated from anthropology and this is where you can define it as an empirical presentation of data on human cultures and societies. For today's paper, we are supposed to write an ethnographic description and then analyze the description according to the said holiday, 'Thanksgiving Day'.

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Thanksgiving's Tour

As I said am going to talk about Thanksgiving but not in the sense that it's going to be the outline of my paper, not really. We are going to talk about a trip we had as a family last year in the season nearing Thanksgiving. My dad had won a trip to go to Africa and was to take with him and I remember feeling stumpy for the decision. We are not going to talk about the trip or how I felt initially but we are going to get in on what we learned about the 'Maasai 'people (Nicholson,255-267). We found out that this noble tribe, the name Maasai means people who speak 'maa', this tribe has always been lively and they can be set apart by their bright red robes visually, seen always carrying a spear there are courageous and calm regardless of any threat.

The Tribe of the 'Maasai'

There is a pastoral community living in East Africa in both Kenya and Tanzania, being nomadic implies that limited schooling for their kids. The limited or late schooling development in that particular area which was remote and dry and also policies concerning education plus the nomadic way of life for the Maasai people have a low rate of schooling of which they had combined to yield. There is around 33 percent of their kids enrolled in primary schools against a national rate that was two times as high as in the 2000s. fewer of the number even enroll in secondary schools, where they can achieve their goals to even go further to college universities.

The Political Hierarchy of the Maasai

With a tribe like the Maasai who has a very rich heritage, they have to have a political hierarchy and this is the decision makers in the community. One member of the tree is the father-leader of a family unit, where the father has the right to decide where his children will live within his homestead known as 'kraal'. Then we see the elders of the clan who make crucial decisions for the advancement of the culture and community as a whole. Yet another group in the Maasai community are the warriors popularly known as the 'Morans', there are the young men of the tribe and they become warriors only after they are circumcised and kill lions or ostriches with spears (Hodgson,2001). The head of the 'kraal' has the power to oversee every decision made for the clan, the warriors and youth are gathered by the head of the 'kraal' when an important decision is to be made and consultation is needed.

Traditional Dance Ceremonies

For a warrior to be named a Moran there is usually a ceremony which is a coming of age ritual known as "Eunoto" and it may contain eight or more days of dancing and singing rituals. The Morans execute a kind of dance that is more of a march known as the 'Adumu' or 'Aigus' often denoted to as, the leaping dance. Around is fashioned by the 'morans' one will enter the circle at a time and start to jump whereas maintaining a narrow posture and in no way let their heel touch the ground. There are also women present in this 'Eunoto' celebration where Moran's girlfriends assemble themselves in their most spectacular outfits to impress their suitors. There are also mothers of the Morans who sing and dance in tribute to the tenacity and courage of their sons.

Analysis of Maasai's Culture

As we have finalized on the cultural practices and traditions of the Maasai, now we look at what all that meant, and this can be generally reflected on their way of life together with their educational practices. Side by side they can be seen co-existing formal schooling and traditional education to a large extent offer contradictory forms of knowledge that are taken in different ways and sometime may seem to be competitive. It is usually done especially to religious studies, while in school all students are given the same set of information and going back home the young child will receive different kinds of education from different people depending on age and gender. Education for the uncircumcised boys and girls is usually given towards pastoral activities and domestic labor, while other times girls of a certain age will be given lessons on how to be good wives.

Social Responsibility of the Maasai

The Maasai is a tribe who initially lived in 'kraals' which we talked about this are a piece of land fenced in a circular manner and made of thorns. It is the man's duty to make the kraal so as to prevent attacks by lions, while the women of the community construct their houses known as the 'Manyatta'. In olden time one kraal was occupied by an extended family, but nowadays because of land laws put in place, we can see one nuclear family occupying a kraal (Archambault,632-643). The roles are delegated as per one's age and gender, for women as we said earlier they make the houses, collect firewood, cooking for the family, supply of water and milking cattle. The Morans take charge of security and safety of the community, young boys herd the cattle and in place of a drought morans join the young boys to herd the livestock. Elders give advice and direct activities of day-to-day and he announces on the schedule to be followed by everyone.

Young women of the tribe can be seen humming songs and singing lullabies, most of the time singing and dancing may occur around Manyattas which involve courting and flirting. The young men parade in front of the girls and chant while withdrawing their lower bodies and the girls stand in front of the men and make the same lunges to counterpoint the men. And while all this was happening bodies did not touch, this is a way rather it was away in the past as a way of arriving Morans to choose a wife.


In summary, there is a famous American proverb that illiterates, "To understand a man you must walk a mile in his shoes" as we concluded our safari in the African bush so did my fascination of Africa grow. But as the Maasai preserve their culture there are a people who are mostly progressive, I remember there were young Maasai men who found the stories told by elders to be as fascinating as ever known by the elders as 'Digital Maasai'. They find themselves believing they have a bigger role in their country Kenya and the world as a whole because some of them are doctors, safari guides, teachers and public servants and so on.

Work Cited

Hodgson, Dorothy Louise, and Dorothy L. Hodgson. Once intrepid warriors: Gender, ethnicity, and the cultural politics of Maasai development. Indiana University Press, 2001.

Archambault, Caroline S. "Ethnographic empathy and the social context of rights: "Rescuing" Maasai girls from early marriage." American Anthropologist 113.4 (2011): 632-643.

Nicholson, Nigel. "Meeting the Maasai: Messages for management." Journal of Management Inquiry 14.3 (2005): 255-267.

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