Who are the Maasai?

The Maasai inhabit the African Great Lakes region and are pastoralists who are famous for their fearsome reputations as warriors and cattle-rustlers. The Maasai have been creating beaded jewellery well before their first contact with Europeans and it has been an important part of Maasai culture. Every Maasai woman learns the jewellery making craft and traditionally Maasai women set aside time every day to meet and work on beaded jewellery which includes colourful necklaces, belts, bracelets, and pendants.

The colours used in the beadwork are selected for their beauty and are also symbolic, having important meanings understood by the tribe. The main colours used in Maasai beadwork are; Red – stands for bravery and unity, Yellow or Orange – symbolises hospitality, White – represents peace, purity, and health, Blue – represents energy and the sky, Green – symbolises health and land, Black – represents the people and the struggles they must endure.

Today, beading serves as a major source of income for the Maasai people who struggle to maintain their way of life in a constantly changing Africa. By purchasing this product, you are directly helping to support the Maasai women, their families and helping them to maintain their culture.

These belts are made in Kenya and sourced from groups of Maasai ladies. The leather comes from Kenyan cows and produced in a tannery in Thika. The beads are sewn on by Maasai mamas in the Ngong Hills and Amboseli National Park, whilst the buckles are fashioned in the Ngong Hills.

Manyatta supports Tusk Trust and every sale will result in a donation to support their efforts.

Traditional Belts