Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The Maasai people live in East Africa. They may have separated from other Nilotic groups as early as 1,000 years ago and moved into what is known today as the countries of Sudan and Uganda. This split was followed by two major migration waves, one that might have occurred 300 years ago or earlier and the second one in the 18th century. These migratory movements account for the Massai's present-day locations in Kenya and Tanzania. The Maasai are primarily a pastoral people, although a few among them devote their time and energy to agriculture. The Massai believe in one supreme God, Ngai (also named Engai or Enkai) . That supreme God is androgynous—that is, both female and male. Ngai's primordial dwelling, the Ol Doinyo Lengai , literally “The Mountain of God,” is located in northern Tanzania. Ngai created the forest, mountains, lowlands, and highlands. Natural forces, such as rain, thunder, ...