By Allen F. Roberts
University of California, Los Angeles (formerly University of Iowa)

Maasai peoples, Kenya, two warriors (faces obscured by request). Photo by Donna K. Pido.

Boys graduating from initiation together are often called an “age-grade,” when their solidarity is such that they act as a corporate group in political or economic contexts. Among Massai pastoralists of Kenya and Tanzania, newly circumcised boys join a company of age-mate warriors called Morans. Dozens or even hundreds of Morans may live in a single manyala or camp, often with their elderly mothers and unmarried sisters. Morans herd and defend their own cattle, and in the old days, they raided the herds of other manyalas. For the most part, Maasai spears, clubs, throwing sticks, and shields are only used ceremoniously these days, or to fulfill roles in East African cultural tourism (see Hodgson 2011).