179For examples of this in Tanzania see Neumann (2001: 321-323).
180See also Neumann (2001: 316) concerning this issue in Tanzania and Leonard and Straus (2003) for a more general account.
181Even though preservationists often refer to Africa as a largely untouched Garden of Eden, it is actually the utilitarian approach which seems to have most roots in the Old Testament, where God gave the earth to mankind to cultivate and use.
182In the Western world preservationist ideas have also been contested by utilitarian principles. The WWF (World Wildlife Fund, later renamed World Wide Fund for Nature), was one of the first organizations to promote an utilitarian perspective in wildlife conservation, facing the reality that Third World ‘people were going to use the resources around them in order to survive, notwithstanding philosophical and ethical appeals by wealthy Westerners’ (Bonner 1994:62). Since the 1980s utilitarianism became part of the conservation orthodoxy as it was incorporated in the World Conservation Strategy (Bonner 1994: 59), and other major wildlife conservation organizations such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Conservation International (Ros-Tonen, Zaal & Dietz 2005: 11).
However under the influence of public and media pressure from Western countries, for instance in the form of animal rights activism, Western democratic governments and international organisations as well as major NGOs such as the WWF have gone from ‘conservation through utilization’ to a more preservationist rhetoric. A major turning point was during the ivory ban controversy that took place during the 1980s, when, under pressure to raise money and in fear of losing its major position in wildlife protection, the WWF declared it strongly endorsed the CITES listing of the African elephant and abandoned its earlier standpoint that sustainable use would most likely lead to conservation of the species (Bonner 1994).
Many scientists however, have kept endorsing the view that (in the long term) species can only be kept from extinction if they are useful to the people they share their living-space with. The WWF is still ‘committed to the principle of sustainable utilization, and it funds programs which encourage African communities to benefit through hunting and the sale of wild animal products. However, the organization fears that most people donate money for conservation because they want to see animals preserved, not utilized’ (Bonner 1994: 62-63). Because WWF runs on the basis of donations, it often acts and presents itself from a more preservationist point of view than it might actually like. This shows the power of the population of developing countries is formulating guidelines for conservation.
183This could also be observed at the Wildlife Conference in Nairobi where the KWS and researchers present themselves as the knowing elite that has the expertise to achieve positive change. The critical potential of the people from the communities is carefully discouraged, contained and channelled. This leaves these people largely excluded from the process of creation, formulation and reformulation issues concerning conservation. Instead, the conservation message is brought to them. The KWS more often appeals to its authority as a scientific based organisation to cut short community members. According to Dzingirai, scientific language has been used generally to couch control and repression of the African countryside (2003: 244-245).
184Peace points towards the ‘costs [sic] involved in encouraging people to consume the symbolic, iconic properties of whales [during whale-watch tours]’ (2005: 205), and I believe similar arguments can be made about the consumption of the Kenyan charismatic-mega fauna, especially during game-drives. Peace also argues that consumption of charismatic mega-fauna as an icon ‘reinforces the pattern of overconsumption in Western societies which lies at the core of global environmental [problems] in the first place…. [The animals] are still being evaluated in terms of their worth to us, and no other value.’ (Peace 2005: 206 emphasis in orginal).
185Interview Patrick Ntiangau Liaram, August 2007. This point was also brought up by the Students of Koiyaki Guiding School during a group interview, Koiyaki Guiding School, August 2007 and interviews Dickson Kaelo, Koiyaki groupranch, August 2007.
186Interview Ntiwal Liaram in Oltorotwa, August 2007.
187Interview Dickson Kaelo, Koiyaki groupranch, August 2007.
188Own observations and interviews Dickson Kaelo, Koiyaki group ranch, August 2007.
189Personal observation and communication with gamedrivers, July 2007.
190See also du Toit and Cumming (1999), Western (1989), Western and Gichohi (1993).
191See also interview with Alex Walker, owner of the Serian Camp near Mara River.
192The negative effects of the presence of wild species of plants and animals are lower than the benefits farmers enjoy, for instance through making use of wild plant species, bushmeat, medicine, firewood, and in the savannah areas of Africa also the fodder, soil nutrients and fencing materials wild species provide ( Scherr & McNeely 2006: 4-5).
193When walking down the street, in Maasai as well as Taita-land people often have come up to me to ask me with glistening eyes whether I was an American, dreaming out loud about the wonderfulness of that country and their plans to go there one day.
194Interview in Koiyaki Lemek Wildlife Trust, August 2007.
195Patrick Ntaingau Liaram, a 43 year old Maasai man from Oltorotwa, one wife, four children.
196Interview in Olkimitare, August 2007.
197 Interview Donald Mombo, a scholar and Taita local working at Kecobat in Nairobi, June 2007.
198Generally the owner(s) receive money for rent of the land and bed-night fees, which means an amount for every tourist spending the night in the camp. Although compared to the money made, the money paid to the locals is often a small percentage, some have gotten themselves a good deal out of it, especially compared to the average local standard of living.
199Interview Patrick Ntiangau Liaram, a 43 year old Maasai man in Oltorotwa. August 2007. Last year Mr Liaram cultivated 820 acres, but zebras, antelopes and elephants finished all crops in the field. Now he gets Ksh 20.000 (US$ 299) a term for the 150 acres he owns inside the conservancy, but that is little compared to the Ksh 150.000 (US$ 2239) he estimates he can make of the land when cultivation would be possible. ‘The 20.000 does not even cover the costs of the wild animals,’ he says.
200Interviews with people who continue to live inside the Koiyaki-Lemek conservation area, June and July 2007.
201Not in the least by privately taking initiative for organising donations and projects for instance for improvements on a health care centre (Talek), a library (Jora/Kasigau) or a (failed) improvement to a water spring (Endoinyio-Erinka). Donations of goods often come in the form of clothes or school supplies.
202For instance at Koiyaki Guiding School in Koiyaki Groupranch, visited August 2007. See also their website http://www.koiyaki.com
203According to Wels 'the idea of (southern) Africa in Europe has always been dominated by imagery, mainly images of landscapes and physical aestheticism derived from Romanticism.... European images of Africa simultaneously had to function as contrast and measure of European 'civilisation'' (Wels 2002: 55).
204Interview Stephen Naigisa in Ekeju-Emutukaa, August 2007.
205Exaggerations are common, for instance at a camp which is involved in community work on the edge of the reserve makes the untrue claim to be the only camp with Maasai in manager positions, while their claim that the land they rent is of the community is deceptive, because it actually belongs to one individual family.
206For instance Topi Tracker Safaris in Koiyaki-Lemek Wildlife Trust is fully Maasai owned, and the only one year old Oldarpoi Maasai Safaricamp in Sekenani is owned and run by 31 local Maasai has already realised many projects such as bridges, kitchens, waterprojects benefiting over 65 villages, and a dispensary from the 70% of the camp's money that is invested in community projects.
207For a similar development with regard to the Tanzanian Maasai, see Hodgson (2001: 148-151).
208Good examples can be found on the internet, for instance in the Masai Mara guestbook, where Ann Davis from Wales wrote a comment on May 26, 2005: 'I watch all the programmes on wildlife. The Maasai people are the most beautiful, natural beings on the planet. Elephants are my favourite animal, they are so much like people.
http://www.masai-mara.com/book16.htm visited April 16, 2008.
209For a description of the same phenomenon in Senegal and Cameroon see Van Beek (2003) and Jong (2007: 11-13, 68-78). For a more general analysis see Desmond (1999: 252, 254).
210Personal communitcation, July 2007.
211Bruner & Kirshenblatt-Gimblet’s (1994) description of Mayers Ranch in Kenya is a good example. The performances of the Maasai, receiving a flat rate salary, are orchestrated to carefully create a stereotypical narrative of wildness and civilisation. Western items such as digital watches, aluminium cans and plastic utensils are carefully kept hidden to create an aura of realism. The Maasai themselves however produce special tourist spears that can be taken apart so the tourists can easily transport them. (Bruner & Kirschenblatt-Gimblett 1994: 444)
212According to Bruner, the Maasai manipulate the scene because '[T]ourism for them is their livelihood, a source of income' (Bruner 2001; 895), but it is also true that tourists generally expect certain 'experiences' from the holiday they have bought, and when confronted with their 'staging' activities, locals reply that the 'tourists come to Kenya to see Maasai things, not European things' (Bruner & Kirschenblatt-Gimblett 1994: 466). The local importance and understanding of 'traditional' culture as an object to sell to tourists should not be underestimated. Assistant chief Naurori for instance states that local ‘culture still has advantages as tourists want to see Maasai culture’ (Interview in Koiyaki Lemek Wildlife Trust, August 2007).
213The manyatta used on Myers ranch where Bruner & Kirschenblatt-Gimblett (1994) did their research had a lot of striking similarities but also some differences as compared with the cultural manyattas described here. Myers manyatta was for the exclusive use of the clients of the Myers, largely orchestrated by them to produce a colonial drama of savage Maasai and genteel British. Many of the contemporary cultural villages are far less focussed upon colonial times and are initiated and orchestrated more by local Maasai themselves. However, hoteliers and tourist operators sending tourists often still have an important influence. The interaction between the Maasai and the tourists in the cultural villages is often a lot more direct, the visitors being directly addressed by the Maasai and not only acting as viewers.
214Interview Enpiraroi Kipira, Maasai from Olemonjo, chairman cultural manyatta in Koiyaki-Lemek. There are some cultural manyattas near Amboseli where people now live almost permanently, or at least for extended periods of time (Ritsma & Ongaro 2002: 133).
215Signe Therese Strom, personal communication, July 16, 2007. See also Hodgson (2001: 228)
216See also Ritsma and Ongaro (2002) descriptions of cultural manyattas near Amboseli. For tourists' own videos of their visits to different but similar Maasai cultural manyattas see
Maasai Village Visithttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSW7RfqR5pE&feature=related
We be chillin, at the Masai village http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbkUJIGNVCw&feature=related
Kenya's Masai Mara Reserve http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgCfO2LQj4g&feature=related all visited April 25, 2008.
217Honey (1999) and some Maasai have severely criticized some of the manyattas. Honey mentions severe hustling, women posing bare breasted and men exposing their buttocks for an extra fee so tourists can take photographs, practices that I have never observed or heard of. To Honey, the Sports Illustrated use of a Maasai village as a setting for a swimsuit edition was 'crude cultural exploitation reach[ing] new heights' (Honey 1999: 314). Although it is unclear whether all people of the manyatta had known of and agreed to the deal beforehand, she seems not to take into account that the manyatta is a consciously created setting for making business. The people of the manyatta earned US$1000 with the swimsuit shooting, and although that might be to much of a bargain for Sports Illustrated, it is a large amount of money compared to the daily profit of the manyatta. The people have actively decided to allow their setting being used, and not turned the models and crew away until they finished shooting.
218Interview Dickson Kaelo, Maasai from Mashambani/Enkobiletai, working for ILRI, August 2007. There is a report of a cultural manyatta in the Mara where Kichwa Tembo camp sends its tourists and where the villagers receive US$ 10 per tourist (Bruner 2001: 895), and Ritsma and Ongaro (2002) also state that in the Amboseli area entrance fees of US$ 10 per person are paid to the Maasai at the gate. However I am unsure if all this money stays within the manyatta.
219Bruner (2001: 897) feels that tour agents are still the primary producers in the Mara, 'with the Maasai at best relegated to a minor role'. However, even when being wage labourers the Maasai at Myers felt they were 'entrepeneurs with an independent business' (Bruner & Kirschenblatt-Gimblett 1994: 465).
220Interview Daniel Taki, Maasai of Endoinyio-Erinka, working as a health officer in Aitong, August 2007.
221Interview in Koiyaki-Lemek Wildlife Trust, August 2007.