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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Maasai warriors play Cricket and stand guard to Sudan, the rhino !

Do you spot a SlingaMalinga in his action ? Cricket is popular in so many parts of the World !

The Maasai are a Nilotic ethnic group of semi-nomadic people inhabiting southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. 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.  The Tanzanian and Kenyan governments have instituted programs to encourage the Maasai to abandon their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle-  but the people have willingly  continued their age-old customs.

They follow many rituals – some involve singing and dancing. Masai Warriors are well known for, and often photographed during, this competitive jumping. A circle is formed by the warriors, and one or two at a time will enter the centre to begin jumping while maintaining a narrow posture, never letting their heels touch the ground. Kenya’s Maasai tribe are known icon for the richness and diversity of the country’s culture, a people whose traditions, beliefs and routines have changed little since the dawn of our history.  Even in a changing society, their way of life continues to be to that of ancestors revolving  around cows, sheep and goats.

Warriors, all the young men in the community, are in charge of protecting livestock from predators and enemies, and, of taking cattle to far away pastures during the dry season. Women and children look after goats and sheep, that are more resilient and can remain near the homesteads also during the dry spells- thus always providing milk and meat for the family.  Recently I had posted about the six-hitting or rather hitting of drone with a lofted shot, which Chris Gayle won beating Kevin Pietersen.  Perhaps, Maasai warriors known for their fierce hunting culture can pose a challenge to Gayle, as they exchange their spears for cricket bats.

The team recently  took part in a charity match against the British Army Training Unit Kenya in Nanyuki, at the foot of Mount Kenya.The Maasai Cricket Warriors team are known for using the sport to raise awareness on HIV/AIDS, women's issues and poaching.  The Cricket match  was held at the 90,000-acre OlPejeta Conservancy and organised in conjunction with the Australian High Commission.

The cricketers were also pictured with Sudan, who is now the last male of only five remaining northern-white rhinoceroses in the world.  Sudan is a  northern white rhinoceros  (Ceratotheriumsimumcottoni),  one of the two subspecies of the white rhinoceros. Formerly found in several countries in East and Central Africa south of the Sahara, it is considered critically endangered or Extinct in the Wild. This subspecies is a grazer in grasslands and savanna woodlands.  The 43-year-old rhino named Sudan - who could live until his 50s - is the last chance for any future northern white rhino calves. Sudan was moved, to Kenyan reservealong with two female rhinos, from a zoo in the Czech Republic in December 2009.  It is protected by armed guards round the clock.

The group also organise cricket safaris into Laikipia, where teams can play the sport in a nature reserve while being watched by wildlife.Cricket was introduced to the Maasai in 2009 by South African primate researcher Aliya Bauer, who missed the sport while living in Kenya.She began by teaching schoolchildren, before young Maasai warriors started watching the training sessions and then decided to join in.

In the game held at the 90,000-acre OlPejeta Conservancy at the foot of Mount Kenya, about 130 miles north of Nairobi, the warriors did display amazing skills.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

18th June 2015.

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