The world has always seen the Maasai people as backward, unflinchingly terrified of technological advancements. They have been called ‘Technophobic’.
As the winner of the 2017 African Rising Photography Competition, I let my curiosity lead me to explore both the Maasai people and the name tag of external gaze given them. I found out that the Maasai had a reverse memory of all that ensued between their community and their people during the colonial era. They believe that westerners invaded and disrupted their space and deconstructed their sovereignty thereby bringing division amongst them. The presence of the colonizers also instigated the death of countless Maasai people.
The damage is so fresh in their minds that they make a silent creed, unknown to the world. The inherent Maasai gaze has thus become these: to be aware, learn and utilize all that comes as time progresses and all that there is about technological advancements, but, to never get entangled with it to the point that the core of the Maasai culture is lost or termed as irrelevant. To this people, their culture is priceless so they would never be drawn in!
• This has become my own gaze at them and this unique perspective as it concerns culture is what I offer the world. The Maasai have gained the ability to sustain culture in the face of evolving technology conveniently. Thus, despite the invasion into our African territories, we must cease to see western culture as ultimate and superior. And, we must rise above the mental slavery as the Maasai people have.