Fertility Myth of Oldoinyo Lengai and Its Impacts To the Maasai Community of Northern Tanzania

Evaristo Haulle, Delphine Njewele


The paper aims to explore the myth of fertility associated with Oldoinyo Lengai
and its impacts to the Maasai community in the Gregorian rift valley system in
northern Tanzania. It assumes that in African spirituality, myths are used to
guide knowledge, values and practices in the community and Mother Nature.
Fertility is among the major transformation event in human life circles that can
be reflected through community myth. Through in-depth interviews and
observation techniques primary data relating to culture, customs and traditions
were obtained. Documentary search was employed to supplement field data. The
study found out that the Maasai community depended on the Oldoinyo Lengai
(Mountain of God) for the fertility of human and animals. The fertility myth
among the Maasai pressurized them to prefer many children. The myth also
encouraged the dominance of promiscuousness; and the deterioration of health
due to bearing many children with limited maternal health care and the spread
of sexually transmitted diseases. Thus the myth of Oldoinyo Lengai in relation to
fertility has caused incredible adverse impact to the Maasai community,
particularly in Tanzania. The study recommends that health education and
services be extended to villages in the vicinity of Oldoinyo Lengai with service
providers who are well-trained to integrate the nature of the myth and its side
effects to the community in relation to the changing socio-economic landscape.
Moreover, it is imperative to empower the community members economically and
socially so that they can decide their fate and exercise their consent.

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