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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A Comparison of the Role of Prophets in Samburur and Maasai Warfare
Author:Fratkin, Elliot M.
Year:1979
Periodical:Senri Ethnological Studies
Issue:3
Pages:53-67
Language:English
Geographic term:Kenya
Subjects:African religions
prophets
Maasai
Samburu
generations
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Ethnic and Race Relations
Abstract:The Samburu and Maasai are closely related pastoral societies which have age-set organisations and share a common language and religious beliefs. Both also have prophets, who can divine the future, inflict sorcery, and cure misfortunes. In Maasai, this role has historically included wider political influence. In Samburu, however, no prophet has ever emerged in a high leadership position. This difference is traced to different ways these societies are organised, particularly where there moran age-sets are concerned. The differences in political and age-set organisation are traced, in turn, to different ecological conditions, and particularly to the different tasks of the moran age-set in economic production. Whereas Samburu moran spend a great deal of time in mobile livestock camps in a relatively dry environment, Maasai moran, living in a richer environment, congregate in defined and permanent localities, living in their own 'warrior villages. In such a situation, a prophet of some stature, having wider access to the moran as a whole, could wield' considerable influence. Bibliogr., map, notes, photogr.
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