Africa  | 26/05/2016

MAASAI Manyattas

The Maasai are a Nilotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic warrior tribe inhabiting southern Kenya. They are among the best known local populations due to their residence near the many game parks of the African Great Lakes, and their distinctive customs and dress.

As a historically nomadic and then semi-nomadic people, the Maasai have traditionally relied on local, readily available materials and indigenous technology to construct their housing. The traditional Maasai house was in the first instance designed for people on the move and was thus very impermanent in nature. The Manyatta (houses) are either star-shaped or circular, and are constructed by women. The structural framework is formed of timber poles fixed directly into the ground and interwoven with a lattice of smaller branches, which is then plastered with a mix of mud, sticks, grass, cow dung, human urine, and ash. The cow dung ensures that the roof is waterproof. The enkaj is small, measuring about 3x5 m and standing only 1.5 m high. Within this space, the family cooks, eats, sleeps, socializes, and stores food, fuel, and other household possessions. Small livestock are also often accommodated within the enkaji. Villages are enclosed in a circular fence (an enkang) built by the men, usually of thorned acacia, a native tree. At night, all cows, goats, and sheep are placed in an enclosure in the centre, safe from wild animals.



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Agosto 2017

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