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Petitioning President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma

Help the Maasai protect their lands!

by Bonita Peterson on July 26, 2016


TARGET 1.000 SIGNATURES 829 supporters

The Maasai is an independent tribal community living in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania.  Unlike those around them, the Maasai managed to protect most of their traditions and culture from the outside world.

Each extended Maasai family live in large fenced-in compounds, with several mud huts. Cattle, sheep, and goats are kept inside the enclosure. The Maasai have great family values where children are raised collectively by the whole community. Food and labor is shared throughout the village. Land, cattle, and children are valued most in the Maasai society.  For the Maasai cattle is an equivalent of a checking account for a westerner. Cattle are sold in local trading markets for the purchase of clothing, beads, and grain. More recently income from the cattle is used to pay for children’s school fees. Traditionally, young boys and warriors are responsible for cattle herding while women and girls are in charge of household chores. It is the responsibility of men to feed and clothe their families. However, with changing times, the Maasai way of life has also evolved.

In Africa, the Maasai tribes of Kenya and Tanzania have endured a long history of colonization by the British. Today, these problems have escalated as more and more parks and reserves are being created by the government without the participation or consent of the indigenous people. The indigenous people consider development, whether it is through tourism or other government projects, to only benefit others and not their own situations. Over the course of their existence, Maasai land has been taken away from them repeatedly, and after many broken promises of compensation and participation.

It is common knowledge that successful habitat and wildlife conservation requires genuine collaboration with the local people who must be part of the decision-making body. From experience, the local people are dedicated to protect wildlife especially when they receive tangible benefits such as employment, water, and education from wildlife related activities such as eco-tourism that is why the Maasai should have the right to own their land.

Sign this petition and urge the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma to give the Maasai’s people their land back! 


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