Colonial preconceptions and contemporary demographic reality: Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania

Colonial preconceptions and contemporary demographic reality: Maasai of Kenya and Tanzania

Many colonial preconeptions about Maasai people still persist today

This paper argues that the roots of many contemporary demographic preconceptions about Maasai can be traced back to the colonial era. The author argues that:

  • most of these preconceptions were unsubstantiated, or based on inaccurate information and repugnance for Maasai cultural norms of the
  • some demographic preconceptions were deliberately manipulated for colonial purposes

By analysing recent survey data the paper shows that, although some aspects of these demographic preconceptions may be true, in fact the demographic reality is very different from the myths.

It is suggested that the “otherness” of this ethnic minority has served to reinforce and perpetuate demographic myths throughout the Twentieth Century. [from author]

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