The Masai

David Shepherd


shepherd masai signed print
"The Masai"
Signed Limited Edition of 850
Date of publication March 1988
Image Size 24" x 12"

The Maasai are a Nilotic ethnic group inhabiting northern, central and southern Kenya and northern Tanzania.
They are among the best known local populations internationally due to their residence near the many game parks of the African Great Lakes,
and their distinctive customs and dress.
The Maasai speak the Maa language a member of the Nilotic language family that is related to the Dinka, Kalenjin and Nuer languages.
Except for some elders living in rural areas, most Maasai people speak the official languages of Kenya and Tanzania, Swahili and English.
The Maasai population has been reported as numbering 1,189,522 in Kenya in the 2019 census, compared to 377,089 in the 1989 census.
The Maasai territory reached its largest size in the mid-19th century, and covered almost all of the Great Rift Valley and adjacent lands
from Mount Marsabit in the north to Dodoma in the south.
At this time the Maasai, as well as the larger Nilotic group they were part of, raised cattle as far east as the Tanga coast in Tanganyika (now mainland Tanzania).
Raiders used spears and shields, but were most feared for throwing clubs (orinka) which could be accurately thrown from up to 70 paces (appx. 100 metres).

© Solomon & Whitehead © David Shepherd