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The Chairman and the Lions

Original title The Chairman and the Lions


As recently as forty years ago, most sections of the Maasai were semi-nomadic and relatively independent of the nation-state. However, political, social and economic changes in East Africa have forced many herders to adopt a sedentary lifestyle. Chairman Frank Ikoyo, the Maasai leader of a Tanzanian village, battles many lions that threaten his community: ‘bush’ lawyers, land grabbers, migration, and lack of education. This film provides a glimpse into the current world of Maasai.

Author/s Peter Biella

Director of the Visual Anthropology program at San Francisco State University, Peter Biella is past president of the Society for Visual Anthropology. Biella’s Yanomamo Interactive: The Ax Fight on CD-ROM made a significant contribution to interactive ethnography. He has produced many films in Latin America, including the award winning Textiles in Ayacucho (2007). For the last six years, Biella collaborated with Maasai in Tanzania, directing many films about migration and HIV. These works include the Maasai Migrants Series (2012), and, with Len Kamerling, Changa Revisited (in preparation).

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