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New film: The Old Maasai

A portrait interview with Maasai Ole Leperes - about his life and how he has used Maasai traditional medicine.

2017.07.06 | Pernille Kallehave

This film is the first result of the Maasai-Mara Ethno-botany project from the Maasai Mara Science and Development Initiative.

The project will inventory the medicinal uses of local plant species in the Maasai-Mara region and evaluate how important they are to local livelihoods.

In particular the project will look into whether local knowledge about medicinal plants is stable in the population or whether it is being eroded in conjunction with the cultural changes going on in the area.

Documenting the ethno botanical knowledge in the area is important for the cultural self-esteem, and also on a more practical note it will be the base for future use of local medicines as an alternative to expensive biomedical treatment.

August 2016 Professor Henrik Balslev from Aarhus University (Denmark), lecturer Jedidah Nankaya from Maasai Mara University and Film Producer Anton Gammelgaard from Storywise.dk visited local healers, chiefs and government officials i Lemek, Aitong and Marianta villages to present and discuss a proposal to carry out community based ethno-botanical research in the Mara North Conservancy.

The proposal was well received and it has now been accommodated to encompass local interests. Those visited were particularly helpful in suggesting how local involvement could be achieved through community meetings (“barasas”) and through involving community members in assembling information and documentation for the project.

This portrait interview is a result of their kind assistance.

See the trailer:



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Revised 06.07.2017