The Maasai: Over rated and Over Branded!


I have mentioned here before about my ancestry, stemming from an industrious bunch of Homo sapiens called Bantus, who are in most parts of Africa too. The Maasai, a people I feel are over rated happen to be Cushites. Whereas Bantus are made for horticulture and the corporate world, the Maasai are made for war and fake war cries.

I mean, I find it over dramatic doing a war cry just coz a neighboring tribe feels their warriors are more vicious than Morans.

Let me clarify; we are talking about inter clan war here, not World or Civil war. These guys are good at these, and they get overly angry when their cattle are stolen or die from drought. It inspires them to raid neighboring people in a bid to promote a heinous economic activity only they can appreciate called cattle rustling.

So while Bantus are hustlers, Cushites like the maasai are rustlers!

They raided our home once when I was a kid and tried albeit unsuccessfully to steal our girls Kairetu and Nyameni, the only cows we had initially. They failed because our lion hearted dog called Tusker harassed them, barked furiously waking the entire neighborhood.

They, vexed by Tusker’s show of bravery, speared him through his thorax, his last words were Aluta Continua….
I remember granny peeping from her bedroom window spurring Tusker to tear the raiders to pieces as she screamed to wake the neighbors too.

Tusker was a wonderful dog and his demise saddened me, I cried when I saw his lifeless carcass lying at the gate; Uncle Kenny and Jungle buried him. Since then my relationship with the Maasai was severed so much so that when I see them doing their over rated high jumps I feel like I should throw a few thorns at the place of landing, which would inspire them to jump higher.

Even I, a Gikuyu can jump higher than them; the only problem is that I have never had my 15 minutes of fame in front of a Mzungu or Nat Geo Wild camera doing my thing. But everything in due time, as a good friend of mine says.

Now, why do I think they are an over rated bunch? Well, first of all whoever was charged with branding Kenya chose the Maasai to be the image of the country. Ok, it seems logical since a Mzungu in Leicester-sha-sha or Why Oh Me (normally written as Wyoming) ‘feels’ it’s Africa when they see a Maasai Moran pierce the African sky dressed in those red shukas with no underwear.

They paint the image of ‘wild and free’ and have been the inspiration in several films like ‘The White Maasai’. Even the famous ‘RareWatts’ got famous for their exuberant dances and Maasai outfits!

Am not certain what impresses the Mzungu more, the high jumps or the non-underwear part! I hear they really have other longer things apart from their spears as a result of running after cattle and Lions across vast valleys; a particular muscle gets naturally elongated due to this exercise (wink), if ya know whatta mean!!

Why can’t the guys who brand Kenya use the image of a Gikuyu man planting cabbages and cucumbers and Rose flowers? Folk from the West would appreciate Valentine’s more knowing how far the flowers came from. The only time a Gikuyu person appears on Global media is during an event marking Jigger’s day, and the world is shown a bunch of Gikuyu men and women with feet harboring millions of these suckers.

If I recall my History lessons correctly, the Gikuyu though not being the only tribe who own bragging rights for Forori (land) and Weyathi (freedom/self rule) post independence drama, contributed a lot to the struggle. The Maasai on the other hand were sell outs thanks to Laibon Lenana. I remember this old man from our History books and he had the look of a sell out, I swear! I think the colonialists gave him a few candies and underwear and he was like Ef Forori and Weyathi, let’s collaborate with the white fellows!

There was also a singular instance when I was seven years old, just a tiny lad making his way from school. A bunch of Maasai Morans ran after me with their machetes raised high, shining, thirsty for blood, they just ran after me, teasing me, glaring, sneering, laughing. I ran so hard my feet were on fire.

And they made me piss on my Khaki school pants and should they have ran after me for another five seconds I would have unwillingly crapped my pants; my mother whacked me when I got home. I never forgave them for that.

Later on I got to do a lot of travelling especially in Maasai Mara and I got acquainted with them, I watched them do their thing as wazungus clicked away on their cameras trying to get an epic shot of a wild face, muscular thigh or that determined look on their painted faces. Looks that said yes, this is Africa Baibe!

Hey, don’t be fooled that they just jump high to please wazungus, it’s all for money. They get a couple of dollars per jump (it’s a pay per jump arrangement) and more if the particular mzungu wants to take a selfie with the sweaty Morans. I came to realize, as most people know by now that these ‘corporate’ morans are not bonafide Maasai…..they are in real sense enterprising Gikuyu men and women who saw an opportunity and capitalized on it.

Which brings me to the conclusion that the Gikuyu should be the image of Brand Kenya!

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4 thoughts on “The Maasai: Over rated and Over Branded!

  1. Pingback: My answers to Liebster Award questions | PolygamisThunder

  2. Pingback: Leaving your heart in the Maasai Mara. | Akhy Mjanja

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