Fatherhood among the Maasai
Papa and yieyo are Maasai words for father and mother respectively. A father is the family head, protector, provider, main decision maker among the Maasai. The Maasai, a traditionally nomadic pastoral tribe in Kenya and Tanzania, have continued to fascinate many, given their preserving of their traditions intact to this day. The study of fatherhood among the Maasai aims to establish how traditional society among the Maasai groomed fathers, and how different this narrative is in a more modern society. Males were initiated into varied age-groups first fourteen or fifteen into the warrior age-group, and then later, as elders. These enabled Maasai males to fit into societal roles of protecting and providing for their families. Knowing that everything is related, the women are vital in the life of the Maasai, as they primarily take care of the home, and nurture girls into future honourable wives for Maasai society. Maasai living in more urban spaces, do not follow their traditions to the dot, yet maintain close links to their Maasai heritage. Fathers ensure that their boys are appropriately initiated into manhood at circumcision ceremonies, and continue to groom the children. Religion has impacted practices like polygyny, to the extent that Christianity encouraging monogamous marriages. In rural areas, the practice of female genital mutilation, though outlawed in Kenya and Tanzania, continues to take place. With education, the Maasai society will make significant advance into contributing uniquely to progress in our world. Efforts at educating girls and boys are in force, to the good of the Maasai.