fr aime cet art africain - African map with countries made up of diffe...
fr aime cet art africain - African map with countries made up of different ethnic fabrics
Editor’s note: To paraphrase the world’s most interesting man, “It’s not every day I travel to Africa to reduce the people to essentialised scenery for my white-person-in-Africa story. But when I do, I choose to essentialise the Maasai.” Whether it’s Robin Wiszowaty, Mindy Budgor more recently, or whoever the hell pays to go to ‘Maasai warrior camp’, it’s starting to feel like the Maasai are the flavour of the times for mal-educated Westerners seeking to live out their colonial fantasies. Some tourists lament the tide of modernity in East Africa. They want to see cultures that are ancient, uncompromisingly “traditional.” They want Blixen, Hemingway, Peter Beard at worst; askari delivering gin and tonics, ice crackling in glasses. It’s a fantasy so successfully recreated that tourists seldom acknowledge the speed with which a plane gets them to the African wild or wonder at the miracle of ice in their drinks on the equator. But show a tourist a Maasai in trousers and – oh, my. On returning from the Maasai Mara and the Lloita plains in Kenya, a few disappointed tourists who had been there asked me if I had found the Maasai. Well, they’re everywhere, I said. “No,” one of them explained, “we mean the real Maasai.” They must have meant the Maasai as seen on TV. They complained that the red tartan blankets (shukas) they had bought as souvenirs were made in China and that some Maasai wore trousers and sneakers.
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