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Photographer's Note

The Maasai are an indigenous African ethnic group of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania. Due to their distinctive customs and dress and residence near the many game parks of East Africa, they are among the most well-known African ethnic groups internationally. They speak Maa, a Nilo-Saharan language related to Dinka, Nuer, Turkana and Songhai, and are also educated in the official languages of Kenya and Tanzania: Swahili and English. The Maasai population has been variously estimated as 377,089 from the 1989 Census or as 453,000 language speakers in Kenya in 1994 and 430,000 in Tanzania in 1993 with a total estimated as "approaching 900,000" Estimates of the respective Maasai populations in both countries are complicated by the remote locations of many villages, and their semi-nomadic nature.

Although the Tanzanian and Kenyan governments have instituted programs to encourage the Maasai to abandon their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle, the people have clung to their age-old customs. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masaai)

Music and dance plays a central role to the Maasai, with the most recognised dance being the adumu, or welcome dance. The coming-of-age ceremony (or Eunoto) can last up to 10 days and focuses around dance and music.

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Additional Photos by Richard Cooper Knight (cooperknights) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 32 W: 3 N: 46] (394)
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