MOHAMED AMIN, DUNCAN WILLETTS AND JOHN EAMES
FOREWORD BY ELSPETH HUXLEY
ISBN 1 904722 13 X
To 19th century Europeans, they were the ‘noblest savages’, an elite corps of painted and feathered warriors, strangely aristocratic in their disdain of other people’s civilization.
For the Maasai, no advance during the last 100 years has been of any great interest or advantage: not peace for war; money for cattle; nor cities and settlement for the plains and open boundaries of their land across much of southern Kenya and northern Tanzania.
This isolation, their land, their traditional codes and values; have all been defended in a long, mostly passive war of resistance carried out by a society structured as a standing army.
But it’s all over, almost.
In Kenya, in the late 1980’s, the legions of warrior moran are obsolete: the old tribal conflicts no longer acceptable in the new new nation state – one of the most advanced and unproductive and the Maasai cattle are counted in the national herd.
Change has not been forced on the Maasai Culture and Traditions. But they are on the final retreat to the point of individual choice: either across the line of time and cultural advance or all the way back to the reservations – to whatever dry land is left to them.
In this superb, full-colour portfolio photographers Mohamed Amin and Duncan Willets have produced a comprehensive pictorial record, and John Eames the narrative back-ground to these remarkable: The Last of the Maasai.