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Maasai tribe members celebrate Tanzanian culture

Leboy Oltimbau and Musa Kamaika play Tanzanian musical instruments.

Leboy Oltimbau and Musa Kamaika play Tanzanian musical instruments.

Annika Vande Krol (‘19) | Photo Bureau

Annika Vande Krol (‘19) | Photo Bureau

Leboy Oltimbau and Musa Kamaika play Tanzanian musical instruments.

Ana López, Staff Writer

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Two members of the Maasai tribe from Tanzania shared their culture in a colorful dance party. Student Activities Council (SAC) Leadership, the Diversity Center, and the anthropology department sponsored Leboy Oltimbau and Musa Kamaika’s visit to Luther on April 27.

The evening started with a presentation of singing and dancing by Oltimbau and Kamaika. They accompanied the background music by singing in their native language, Maa, and playing instruments from Tanzania.

Oltimbau and Kamaika shared the meaning of the songs they performed. They mentioned that their songs talked about cattle because they are sacred to their tribe.

After the explanation of their solo dance, Oltimbau and Kamaika got off stage to dance with the audience of Luther students, faculty, and Decorah community members. Oltimbau and Kamaika taught the crowd how to dance to their singing with jumping and shoulder shaking.

Attendee Clinton Akomea-Agyin (‘17) was interested to learn about the Maasai culture after hearing so much about them.

“I appreciate the culture because it’s really different from where I come from in West Africa,” Akomea-Agyin said. “It’s important to understand that there’s a meaning behind the dance and that it’s not just jumping around and it actually means something to them. It was really nice that everyone was dancing and it was really fun.”

The evening was completed with a piece of contemporary rap from Tanzania. Oltimbau and Kamaika wore their traditional outfits but changed to other clothes for the second part of the performance.

Professor of Anthropology Lori Stanley (‘80) has been involved with the January term study-abroad trip to Tanzania since 2002. She thought Oltimbau and Kamaika’s visit was beneficial to Luther students.

“It’s their first time to come here but they feel like they know Luther well,” Stanley said. “They’ve been a really important part of the educational opportunity that our students have. I hope that students have fun and enjoy a different form of music and dancing than what they typically would experience here.”

Stanley believes the connection of the Maasai communities and Luther are important.

“We keep trying to find ways to strengthen this connection between those Maasai communities, our friends,” Stanely said. “We’re just trying to strengthen that connection and keep it going.” 

Attendee Mikayla Brockmeyer (‘17) went on the Paideia 450 study-abroad course to Tanzania where they learned how to dance and sing with the community.

“Dancing was something that we got to participate in while we were there,” Brockmeyer said. “When they came here they wanted to show us how they dance and how everyone can do it. It makes people laugh and it also creates good bonds.”

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