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The African Studies Center (ASC) sponsors conferences, lectures, exhibits, film series, and cultural performances throughout the year. These events are designed to foster understanding of Africa among members of the U-M community and the public  and to advance the exchange of resources and knowledge between U-M and its partners in Africa.

DAAS African Diasporic Film Festival. Orkiteng Loorbaak: Rite of Elders

2017, Documentary Film (37 mins)
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
4:00-6:00 PM
Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery, Room 100 Hatcher Graduate Library Map
Directed by Ron Mulvihill and Kelly Askew
Produced by Kelly Askew
Edited by Ian Klipa
Languages: Maa, Swahili
Subtitles: English
Date: 2017

In Maasai culture of East Africa, roles and responsibilities are assigned according to age and gender. While the transition to warriorhood has been heavily documented, other aspects of the life cycle remain largely unexplored. Orkiteng Loorbaak: Rite of Elders follows Frank ole Kaipai, chairman of Lesoit village, Tanzania, as he undergoes the rite of passage to become an elder. While his household prepares for the ceremony—cooking, re-plastering the homes, completing jewelry for adornment, and making ready for the arrival of guests—Frank reunites with his age-set mates. He selects one to be his blood brother (ng’udiai) for the ritual and for the rest of their lives. A highlight of the ceremony is their vows to protect each other and their community, performed over a ritual branch. All night long people dance, sing, with men reveling in tales of their time as warriors. At dawn, a white bull is sacrificed to cleanse Frank of the sins of his youth. Women are critical to the ceremony, and Frank’s mother is honored for bringing him into the world. The ritual confirms Frank’s status as an elder and allows him to shepherd his children through their coming rites of passage to adulthood.
Building: Hatcher Graduate Library
Event Type: Film Screening
Tags: Africa, Anthropology, Film
Source: Happening @ Michigan from African Studies Center, Department for Afroamerican and African Studies, International Institute, Department of Anthropology