Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro

Africa's highest mountain, Kilimanjaro marks the easternmost extent of Maasai territory. As the Maasai herd cattle down in the plains, they have no great myths or legends associated with the mountain as far as I know, although it may well be one of the dwelling places of their god, Ngai.

At no time during the colonial period was ever more than fleeting consideration given to the people who actually lived in East Africa, and whose lives were being turned upside-down by the Europeans. The arrogant disregard shown by the new overlords was even set down in black and white in the form of Kenya's borders, which were determined not by the languages or distribution of its peoples, nor by their cultures or traditions, and not even by geography, but by military interests and even haphazard whimsy, which is how the southern border with Tanzania came to be defined. The German Emperor Wilhelm I, who had been given control of what became Tanzania, very much wanted possession of Africa's highest mountain, Kilimanjaro. To appease his ego, the British (in the form of his grandmother, Queen Victoria) relented, and through the 1886 Anglo-German Agreement the otherwise straight border was drawn with a large kink around Kilimanjaro, so that the mountain was entirely included in German-controlled territory.

Credit: photo copyright © Jens Finke, 1998.


Traditional Music & Cultures of Kenya
Copyright Jens Finke, 2000-2003

also by Jens Finke
Chasing the Lizard's Tail - across the Sahara by bicycle - fine art photography