The Wisdom of the Maasai
Oral Literature as Entertainment Education
by Benson P. Fraser, Steven L. Kiruswa, William J. Brown
Forthcoming September 2023
Tags: African Studies, African World Series
The stories in this book's collection all come from Maasai communities in Tanzania and are intended to instruct and entertain. Thus, they are all good examples of the Maasai's use of entertainment-education. The tales presented here were all told by Maasai storytellers to those living within their immediate communities or villages. In the quiet of the twilight hours the Maasai community listens to the wisdom of their elders through the telling of stories or folktales. Thus, the oral literature of the Maasai is communicated from one generation to the next as the storyteller reconstructs the tales in a careful and intentional way. These stories are all gathered from recording first-hand accounts of storytellers imparting stories to their audience—often children of Maasai herders. We have organized the stories into seven categories: animal trickster stories, animal adventure stories, monster stories, children's stories, warrior stories, elder stories, and myths and legends. After providing the stories, we then discuss many of the entertainment-education messages and moral lessons communicated through the stories that are passed down from one generation to the next.
This book is part of the African World Series, edited by Toyin Falola, Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities, University of Texas at Austin.