Orkiteng Loorbaak: Rite of Elders
Maasai pastoralists are recognized the world over as iconic representations of Africa, of warriorhood, and of masculine prowess and bravery. Countless films and texts have documented the transition via circumcision to warriorhood, yet life does not end with retirement from warrior status. Rather, a new stage of life begins: being an elder.
In a rare intimate portrait of this ceremonial milestone, Orkiteng Loorbaak: Rite of Elders follows Frank ole Kaipai, the chairman of Lesoit village in Tanzania, as he undergoes the rite of passage to elderhood. He reunites with his age-set, selects one age-mate to be his blood brother (ng'udiai), and vows to protect his community. Not only does this ritual elevate his social status, it enables him to shepherd his children through their rites of passage to adulthood.
Drawing on nearly eight years of anthropological fieldwork in this village and with this household, we see how a Maasai community comes together to celebrate not only age and experience, but the women who bring men into the world.