Kenya is one of the most visited countries in Africa because of the beautiful game drives of the Masai Mara. Located in East Africa, the beautiful country Kenya has its capital in Nairobi and its official languages as English and Swahili Language in Kenya . Kenya is neighbored by South Sudan to the northwest, Ethiopia to the north, Somalia to the east, Uganda to the west, and Tanzania to the south. The Kenyan flag has a meaning behind its colors: black represents the people of Kenya, red represents the bloodshed during their independence fight, and green represents the landscape and natural wealth. Kenya gained independence from Britain on December 12, 1963, marking only 57 years of independence.
In the Southwest of Kenya and north Tanzania lies the extraordinary Masai land; this land is known as the Masai Mara Reserve. The Masai migrated to northern Africa a thousand years ago. The Masai are known to be the one old tribe in Africa. The Mara attracts many tourists worldwide, which may mislead one into thinking that the Masai economy is a prosperous one; instead, it is a corrupt one. The Masai people are known as warriors and hunters, dressing in traditional clothing, and performing their jumping dance. Masai knows the most important quality is the community in which nobody is left behind. The Masai tribe is seen as the lower caste of the Kenya tribe. Masai face many difficulties as a tribe and are exploited by the tourism industry and the Kenyan government. According to Prof. Meitamei Ole Dapash, Director MERC, on the proposed Maasai Mara Management Plan, The tourism industry has controlled them by making the Masai dance to the tourists and entertaining them for less than a dollar a day. Currently, the Masai tribe is fighting to protect their land and create jobs. The Masai can lose the majority of their land through development and fighting among clans. The Masai people still have withholding the community's pride with them, and most do not have an interest in Western society.
The fight among the clans is something the Masai never escape since their independence. In 1963 Kenya was free, but that didn't make every tribe in the nation accessible. The Kikuyu tribe is seen as the lowest in Kenya because of Jomo Kenyatta. The Kikuyus have been forcing the Maasai people out of their homes and businesses. This trauma has left the rest of the Kenyan population beyond repair because of what was set by Kenyatta. Today there is a problem between the Kikuyus and the Maasai due to their beliefs. According to Masai, Kikuyus and Somali Culture "I asked one of the old men what was the matter. He answered quickly, in a low voice: 'Masai na kudja'-- the Maasai are coming". The Kikuyu welcome the Masai to their ngomas (big dances), but things quickly turn violent. After the violence, the Kikuyu cast a spell on their women to protect them from falling in love with the Masai. Thus they discourage inter-marrying." The belief has been passed from generation to generation to the point where clans are still fighting.
Today, Masai are still facing healthcare, education, and a loss of land from development, which will lead to the destruction of their culture. According to Prof. Meitamei Ole Dapash, Director MERC, on the proposed Maasai Mara Management Plan, The Maasai’s goal is to create self-government in which the Masai will be able to fight in court, protect their land, and build a better future for the next generation; most importantly, maintain their land, identity, and tradition.
My name is Miles Miller and my Maasai name is Ole Rakwa. I have been managing the development of the Maasai Automotive Education Centre for the past year and am back in Maasailand with my team for the next two months to work on the first stages of implementation and research for MAEC. It’s good to be back!