The Maasai people conquer cell phones, social media and pizza

The Maasai are known as warriors and semi-nomadic cattle-raisers, with a diet mostly consisting of raw meat and dairy from their cattle.  

 Maasai people in Kenya.  (photo credit: CREATIVE COMMONS)
Maasai people in Kenya.
(photo credit: CREATIVE COMMONS)

Members of the Maasai tribe in Tanzania have gone viral recently as they have begun to experiment with social networks and modern technology. They have also begun to experiment with fast food - namely, pizza. 

"Many Maasai now go to the city for work and slowly slowly lose Maasai values for western, money can also cause a lot of problems. Let’s hope we can be good example using technology and social media in a good way for the tribe, and for the world."

Kanaya, a member of the Maasai people

The Maasai people live in central and southern Kenya as well as in northern Tanzania. They are a large nation with their own religious and cultural practices and distinctive, bright-colored traditional dress. The Maasai are known as warriors and semi-nomadic cattle-raisers, with a diet mostly consisting of raw meat and dairy from their cattle.  

For a fee, the Maasai in Tanzania will welcome visitors and allow outsiders to share in their culture in person for a short time. 

Maasai on social media

 Maasai women.  (credit: FLICKR) Maasai women. (credit: FLICKR)

Recently, a group of Maasai men have opened social media accounts under the name "maasaiboys" and gained significant traction, especially on Instagram where they have over 12,000 followers. Their goal is "to make the world happier," according to their profile, but they do have more concrete dreams. Their Instagram bio also contains a link to a gofundme page to amass funds to start a business.

The nature of the business is not immediately clear, but it seems to be focused on social media content creation and it will "provide jobs for young and old." They want to raise funds to provide a higher quality of life for their community. 

They also have a YouTube channel where their video trying pizza for the first time got over 100,000 views. Overall, pizza was a win for the Maasai. The main speaker for the group, Kanaya, said that pizza is so good, it's "like cow blood." Evidently, cow blood is very tasty. He was less impressed with salami, opting to remove it from his slices after one taste. 

Kanaya participated in a Reddit "AMA" in September. "AMA" stands for "Ask Me Anything" and allows Reddit users to ask questions of people they may never have a chance to speak to in person - like Kanaya - or those who may be experts in a specific field - for example, video game development or psychology or geopolitics.

One user asked Kanaya if he was concerned about the modern world's effect on his people. He said simply: "We have mobile phones so we can communicate better. We have Instagram and connect with cool people from all over the world. We can have solar so have light at night. A lot of improvements in life but I also worry for the future that our tribe and the culture slowly get lost. Many Maasai now go to the city for work and slowly slowly lose Maasai values for western, money can also cause a lot of problems. Let’s hope we can be good example using technology and social media in a good way for the tribe, and for the world."