VISION

To rekindle and perpetuate Maasai heritage in an age of cultural convergence and loss of traditions

MISSION

To gather enough material culture art and traditional knowledge for a Maasai interactive cultural museum and annual festival while using this as an opportunity to improve their livelihoods.


 

OBJECTIVE

To make the Maasai people proud of their cultural heritage and share it with other communities

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SUPPORT THIS PROJECT

Please make a contribution today in any form and be part of this innovative project to enable us do the following

Our goal is to raise $100,000 by June 2015

 
- Design and build a cultural centre or manyatta that will be the centerpiece of the Maasai annual festival and stand alone as a cultural centre

- Cover expenses for the Maasai Cultural Heritage Festival

- Source and purchase Maasai artefacts and historical items for th cultural centre

- Document events through video and photographs

- Continue a culture exchange with the Navajo so that best practises may be shared and incorporated into the Maasai Heritage Program and communities

- You can also donate old traditional ornaments and cultural materials from the Maasai community

 

An initiative of the South Rift Association of Land Owners and African Conservation Centre, in partnership with African Conservation Fund, National Museums of Kenya and Smithsonian Institution.

 

 

 

 

The Maasai Heritage Program

Celebrating Maasai Culture

 

The Maasai have become the iconic face of Africa in recent decades, thanks to popular culture and mass tourism. Their image is displayed in brochures, magazines, and on billboards around the world. Despite their fame, the Maasai are fast losing their material culture and profound knowledge of livestock, environment and wildlife. Their culture is facing growing challenges from both outside and within as they embrace developments and formal education.

The traditional rites of passage that pass Maasai cultural values and knowledge from one generation to another are waning. The passing of traditional elders, a lack of documentation and rapid modernization are obliterating Maasai traditions and knowledge. Spurred by a burgeoning tourist market, non-Maasai vendors are pirating and eroding traditional crafts at the expense of Maasai artisans and communities.

The survival of Kenya’s amazing wildlife and the tourism that goes along with it are also inextricably tied to Maasai culture. The Maasai have coexisted with wildlife for centuries. Their traditional way of moving with their livestock prevents land degradation and permanent settlements providing a landscape in which both people and wildlife can thrive.

With their culture at a crossroads and their traditions disappearing, there is an urgent need to support the Maasai in their efforts to preserve their heritage. The South Rift Association of Land Owners (SORALO a Maasai land owner group) and the African Conservation Centre in partnership with the African Conservation Fund, the Smithsonian Institution and the National Museums of Kenya launched the Maasai Heritage Program in 2012 to meet this need.

 

What Will This Program Do To Promote Maasai Culture

The heritage program will mobilize communities in Kenya to revive and celebrate their common heritage through annual cultural festivals, a cultural heritage Centre and museum, cultural exchanges and the development of cultural tourism that brings benefits to the genuine
custodians of their culture.


Cultural Festivals
Annual festivals will bring together vignettes of Maasai heritage and encourage communities to share, restore and celebrate their culture and to exhibit and perpetuate traditional practices, skills and knowledge for the benefit of Maasai communities. The festivals will exhibit aspects of Maasai culture including ethnography, history, environmental knowledge and skills and traditional life ways.


Culture Heritage Centre & Museum
An interactive cultural Centre and museum will be created at Olorgesailie in the south rift of Kenya to showcase Maasai culture all year round. The Centre will serve as a community gathering place and a repository for all things Maasai.


Cultural Tourism

Cultural tourism that truly benefits the Maasai will be an outcome of the festival the cultural heritage Centre and cultural exchanges.


Cultural Exchanges

One way of highlighting the problems of cultural erosion and the benefits of common identity is to draw on the experience of other indigenous groups of people. In 2012, the Maasai heritage planning team met with Navajo artists, pastoralists, environmentalists, educators and spiritual
leaders in Arizona to learn how they are preserving their culture and traditions. The team is incorporating many of the Navajo best practices into the Maasai Heritage Program. The Maasai would like to continue this exchange by hosting Navajo guest at their cultural festival later this year.