Maasai mythology

The Maasai mythology involves several beliefs of the Maasai people, an ethnic group living in Kenya and Tanzania

Further reading

  • Harold Scheub, A Dictionary of African Mythology, The Mythmaker as Storyteller Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000, ISBN 0-19-512456-1
  • Naomi Kipury, Oral Literature of the Maasai (1983: East African Educational Publishers Ltd., PO Box 45314 Nairobi, Kenya
  • Spencer, Paul, (2003), "Providence and the cosmology of misfortune" and "Loonkidongi diviners and Prophets", in Spencer, P, Time, Space, and the Unknown: Maasai configurations of power and providence, Routledge, London (pp. 67–123).
African philosophy

African philosophy is the philosophical discourse produced by indigenous Africans and their descendants, including African/Americans. African philosophy presents a wide range of topics similar to its Eastern and Western counterparts. African philosophers may be found in the various academic fields of philosophy, such as metaphysics, epistemology, moral philosophy, and political philosophy. One particular subject that many African philosophers have written about is that on the subject of freedom and what it means to be free or to experience wholeness. Philosophy in Africa has a rich and varied history, some of which has been lost over time. One of the earliest known African philosophers was Ptahhotep, an ancient Egyptian philosopher. In the early and mid-twentieth century, anti-colonial movements had a tremendous effect on the development of a distinct African political philosophy that had resonance on both the continent and in the African diaspora. One well-known example of the economic philosophical works emerging from this period was the African socialist philosophy of Ujamaa propounded in Tanzania and other parts of Southeast Africa. These African political and economic philosophical developments also had a notable impact on the anti-colonial movements of many non-African peoples around the world.

Bantu mythology

The Bantu beliefs are the system of beliefs and legends of the Bantu peoples of Africa. Although Bantu peoples account for several hundred different ethnic groups, there is a high degree of homogeneity in Bantu cultures and customs, just as in Bantu languages. The phrase "Bantu mythology" usually refers to the common, recurring themes that are found in all or most Bantu cultures.


Kileken (sometimes Kileghen) is the subject of a myth of the Maasai people concerning the planet Venus.

In the myth, the planet Venus is called Kileken, and visits the Earth in the form of a small boy. The boy befriends an old farmer and tends his cattle, the man agreeing to let the boy keep the only thing he has: the secret of his origin. When the man betrays his trust and spies on Kileken, the boy vanishes in a bright light and returns to the heavens. The myth explains why the planet Venus is seen during the morning and evening. The oral tradition was captured in a book by the Tanzania-born author Tololwa M. Mollel.

In common with other societies, the Maasai believed Venus to be two separate bodies when seen at morning and in the evening. Kileken was the appearance of the 'morning star'. When it could be seen and the men had not yet returned from the hunt, the women would pray for their safekeeping. The 'evening star' was known as Leken and its appearance heralded the rising of the moon.


Le-eyo is a primal ancestor in Maasai mythology.

List of religions and spiritual traditions

While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who defined it as a

[…] system of symbols which acts to establish powerful, pervasive, and long-lasting moods and motivations in men by formulating conceptions of a general order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic."

A critique of Geertz's model by Talal Asad categorized religion as "an anthropological category." Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws, or a preferred lifestyle from their ideas about the cosmos and human nature. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system", but religion differs from private belief in that it has a public aspect. Most religions have organized behaviours, including clerical hierarchies, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, congregations of laity, regular meetings or services for the purposes of veneration of a deity or for prayer, holy places (either natural or architectural) or religious texts. Certain religions also have a sacred language often used in liturgical services. The practice of a religion may also include sermons, commemoration of the activities of a god or gods, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, rituals, rites, ceremonies, worship, initiations, funerals, marriages, meditation, invocation, mediumship, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture. Religious beliefs have also been used to explain parapsychological phenomena such as out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences and reincarnation, along with many other paranormal and supernatural experiences.Some academics studying the subject have divided religions into three broad categories: world religions, a term which refers to transcultural, international faiths; indigenous religions, which refers to smaller, culture-specific or nation-specific religious groups; and new religious movements, which refers to recently developed faiths. One modern academic theory of religion, social constructionism, says that religion is a modern concept that suggests all spiritual practice and worship follows a model similar to the Abrahamic religions as an orientation system that helps to interpret reality and define human beings, and thus religion, as a concept, has been applied inappropriately to non-Western cultures that are not based upon such systems, or in which these systems are a substantially simpler construct.


Maasai may refer to:

Maasai people

Maasai language

Maasai mythology

MAASAI (band)


Olapa, goddess of the moon, is married to Enkai (Ngai), God of the sun in Maasai mythology.


The Serengeti () ecosystem is a geographical region in Africa. It is located in northern Tanzania. It spans approximately 30,000 km2 (12,000 sq mi).

The Serengeti hosts the second largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world, which helps secure it as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, and as one of the ten natural travel wonders of the world. The Serengeti is also renowned for its large lion population and is one of the best places to observe prides in their natural environment. The region contains the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and several game reserves.

Approximately 70 large mammal and 500 bird species are found there. This high diversity is a function of diverse habitats, including riverine forests, swamps, kopjes, grasslands, and woodlands. Blue wildebeests, gazelles, zebras, and buffalos are some of the commonly found large mammals in the region.

There has been controversy about a proposal to build a road through the Serengeti.Serengeti is derived from the Maasai language, Maa; specifically, "Serengit" meaning "Endless Plains".

Traditional African religions

The traditional African religions (or traditional beliefs and practices of African people) are a set of highly diverse beliefs that include various ethnic religions. Generally, these traditions are oral rather than scriptural, include belief in a supreme creator, belief in spirits, veneration of the dead, use of magic and traditional African medicine. The role of humanity is generally seen as one of harmonizing nature with the supernatural. According to Lugira, "it is the only religion that can claim to have originated in Africa. Other religions found in Africa have their origins in other parts of the world."

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