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Clash of the Warriors

A cool breeze is making for a pleasant evening sitting on the front porch of the mission house. The sun set hours ago and many warriors-to-be are gathered in a nearby open meadow lustily singing the defiant songs of their new age group. The “Sod Busters”, as they are disparagingly called by the Ilkirianga, the retiring age group, are singing of their new role as guardians of the herds and protectors of the Maasai people. Now I hear a band of Ilkirianga warriors approaching, singing their own age group chants. The older boys are bent on dispersing and beating the “Sod busters”, which they do as I sit and listen to the uproar. The gathering of the young boys of the new age group quickly disperses and the melts into the night. They are understandable not ready to take on the much older and stronger young men of the Ilkirianga. The whole exercise seems like so much wasted effort, since the young ones have already won the day.  More and more of their initiation celebrations are taking place each week. As warriors, the Ilkirianga are history.

2 Responses to “Clash of the Warriors”

  1. Martha Stovall on 19/05/2012 #

    Just curious, how old are the new and old warriors?  Sorry if you addressed this earlier and I missed it.

  2. Ned Marchessault on 20/05/2012 #

    Martha,
    Thank you for your reaction to the blog. The old warriors, the Ilkirianga would be in their 20’s and 30’s. Their age group opened 15 years ago. The new present age group would be teen age boys, the Etur Engop age group. In my time in Maasai country, this is the fourth age group that I’ve seen open up to begin initiation (circumcision). The people that were warriors when I arrived in 1966 are now doddering old farts like me.

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