DER Documentary

Diary of a Maasai Village series

Diary of a Maasai Village

A five part series by Melissa Llelewyn-Davies
Produced by British Broadcasting Corporation
color, 4hrs 10min, 1985

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
See pricing information and conditions

Thanks to the B.B.C. and Films Incorporated for their cooperation in making these tapes and The Women's Olamal available through D.E.R.

"A rich man in Maasai has children and cows.... and he has wives - many wives."

This series of five films by Melissa Llelewyn-Davies looks at daily life among the Maasai. The films are presented as a diary of a 7-week visit to a single village. The structure is episodic and the content dependent on various events or stories, some of which are developed through more than one film. The tapes can be used independently or together, to give an in-depth sense of Maasai life.

The senior man in the village is the most important Maasai prophet and magician who is known as the Laibon. He is regarded as a wealthy man because he has so many wives and children. He has 13 wives living in the village as well as a large number of children, about 20 daughters-in-law, and 30 grandchildren. All the main characters in the films are somehow related to the Laibon, who was nearly 80 years old when the films were made.

A common thread to the events of all five films is the ever-present anxiety about the state of the herds. These appear to be slowly depleting due to drought, disease and an increasing need to sell livestock for cash. Cash and/or livestock are needed by the Laibon and his kin to trade for wives, to pay off debts and to compensate for previous thefts.

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Films in the Diary of a Maasai Village series:
PART 1: The Prophet's Village
PART 2: Two Ways of Justice
PART 3: Two Mothers
PART 4: Two Journeys
PART 5: Nine Cows and an Ox

Related Films
The Women's Olamal: The Organization of a Maasai Fertility Ceremony
Maasai Women / Odyssey
Maasai Migrants series

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