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Maasai Art

MAASAI ART


A Maasai artist embroiders a belt for our Maasai collection
Maasai women demonstrate against arbitrariness and reprisals: "Tutapambana Kwa Ardhiyetu Yadi Mwisho (We will fight until the end)"
If their homes are burned, the Maasai lose all of their property.
Looking to a better future: Maasai women proudly present their finished belts for our Maasai Art collection.

Looking for an exclusive gift? Do you appreciate handmade quality? Our Maasai Art collection includes beautiful, unique pieces manufactured by hand by Maasai women. Each piece is as individual as its manufacturer and produced directly in the Maasai villages.

It's a matter of ... more

But it is not just an accessory; it allows you to emphasize your personal touch. Each of our belts tells the story of a herding people, living in harmony with and from nature, in a tradition going back hundreds of years.

Increasingly, however, the Maasai are victims of land conflicts. This is due to the economic interests of investors who buy to reap gold in the form of large areas of land intended as commercial hunting grounds or large-scale farms.

3,000 Maasai homeless and 40,000 Maasai facing eviction

Prof. Schoder says that she herself has witnessed Maasai families confronted by mafia organized landowners, put under pressure and made to endure the worst reprisals. During the dry season roadblocks are erected to block the way to vital water sources. The Maasai can then only pass with their cattle if they pay very high ransom fees. This is money that they do not possess. So the Maasai are forced to sacrifice individual animals of their flock in order to pay. The price is high. One cow out of 20 must be slaughtered to permit watering of the herd.

On a recent stay Prof. Schoder said that the conflict had escalated. Large landowners kidnapped more than 300 zebu cattle and placed at exorbitant ransom. Understandably, the Maasai men tried to get their cattle back. Heavy fighting clashes ensued. According to recent reports, 200 homes were destroyed, leaving more than 3,000 Maasai homeless. Furthermore, the Tanzanian government plans to sell 1,500 km2 of land in the western Serengeti to major foreign investors; this is land that previously belonged to the Maasai. This means that 40,000 Maasai will be evicted.

Our Maasai artists live right in the area of conflict

The Maasai women who make our belts live in the midst of these trouble spots. "We are really at the end of our strength," Magdalena Kerei told us on our last visit to Africa. "There is no peace in sight here." The Maasai women and their families have already had to endure a lot. Their homes were burned, livestock killed or water sources intentionally contaminated.

Magdalena’s neighbours Elizabeth Jemu and Mama Kayewa had their cattle stolen; and Anna Oleku’s house was set on fire. Anna thus lost not only her property but also her entire rice supply, which she had stored in a hut. Unfortunately, the perpetrators are no strangers to criminal activities. Many Maasai have even lost their lives in this conflict.

Empower the Maasai with more autonomy!

By buying a belt from our Maasai Art collection you will be contributing to the ability of Maasai families to live independent lives. Your donation goes 1:1 to our Maasai artists in Tanzania!

Depending upon the type of belt you chose, please make a donation in the region of € 20, € 40 or € 50. Our products can be found here.

Your kind donation of € 50 can work wonders:

  • EDUCATION: school fees for a Maasai child for one year at a higher secondary school
  • SELF-SUFFICIENCY: the purchase price of two dairy goats
  • COST OF LIVING: covers the monthly cost of water, food, firewood and transport for two family members (a detailed table of per capita consumption can be found here)

A donation of € 50 corresponds to an equivalent of 100,000 TZS (Tanzanian Shillings). This table illustrates how the cost of living for the Maasai in Tanzania can be calculated (this list does not include treatment costs for livestock and transportation costs for a ride to the nearest market or doctor).

Obtain Maasai Art and help!

Order your individual accessory from our collection right now. Our products can be found here.

"Asante sana" - A heartfelt thank you on behalf of the Maasai for your donation!

To the products

Background information about land grabs

More than half of the people in Africa earn their living from agricultural activities. In countries such as Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia this approaches 70% of the population. However, these people often live in poverty, building on what they need to live and selling the meager amounts that remain.

In recent years, traditional ranchers and farmers have been denied their ancestral countries, increasingly as a result of the economic interests of large investors, mainly from China and the Middle East. This is resulting in further poverty and increasing urbanization.

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