African Maasai warriors to perform at Norwich’s Maddermarket Theatre
15:36 02 October 2012
From the arid plains of Africa to centre-stage at one of Norwich’s theatres, a troupe of Maasai warriors is visiting the city today to share their colourful tribal culture.
The Osiligi Troupe of Maasai Warriors will be performing at the Maddermarket Theatre today as part of a tour to increase awareness of their traditions and also raise funds to help their community of about 600 people near Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
Made up of five men and two women, the troupe will share African rhythms, lullabies and songs in their native language of Maa, and perform ritual dances including their traditional jumping dance in the Maddermarket show.
Orford-based John Curtin, who has organised the Osiligi Warriors’ tours for a number of years, said: “The performance is the story of their life. The important thing is that what we are trying to do is convey their culture to everyone.”
He added: “They are stunning performers. The troupe’s music is incredible, mesmerising to hear and certainly fascinating to watch.”
By sharing their culture through their tour the Osiligi Troupe hope to raise money to benefit their home village of Kisamis, which is about 30 miles southwest of Nairobi on the edge of the Great Rift Valley.
Mr Curtin explained that the Maasai lifestyle is one of the oldest surviving tribal traditions but the Maasai are also one of the poorest tribes in Kenya and also northern Tanzania.
In the past, the Maasai were nomadic pastoralists, roaming with their cattle, but now much of the land long used by their ancestors has become tourist game reserves or fenced off, droughts in recent years have hit the community hard, some families have lost most of their cattle, and near starvation has forced many Maasai to leave their homes and lifestyle.
Mr Curtin said the tours over the past few years have helped ensure a positive future for the Osiligi Troupe’s Maasai community.
“They have fresh water in their village instead of walking miles for water, they have a new church, and a school which opened in January this year,” he said.
“We are now hoping to raise funds to build a second phase of the school, another two classrooms.”
The Maddermarket’s artistic director Genevieve Raghu said the theatre was excited about bringing the warriors to the city.
She said: “We want to broaden what we are offering Norwich in the arts and celebrate different cultures.
“We are very much looking forward to seeing the Osiligi Maasai Warrior Troupe - people can expect a lot of fun and colour in their performance. It is a very different kind of art form and I cannot wait to see the show.”
• The Osiligi Maasai Warrior Troupe’s show at the Maddermarket today (Tuesday, October 2) at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £12 (£10 concessions). For more information visit www.maddermarket.co.uk
For more about the Osiligi Troupe visit www.osiligi.org
• Are you involved in a new arts project in Norwich? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email firstname.lastname@example.org