Book Launch - "In And Out Of The Maasai Steppe"
Launch Date : 20th September, 2018 at 18:00/06pm
Location : The Novel Idea Bookshop, The Slipway
This ground-breaking text explores the status of Maasai women in the Maasai Steppe of Tanzania and how their gendered roles have been impacted by changes in their external environment, such as land seizures under colonialism, post-independence ujamaa policies, and currently - climate change. It examines gender, their beliefs, social hierarchy, and social history, particularly the interface between the Maasai and colonials.
The book's narrative line follows the struggles of a group of women called Mama Masai to develop a new livelihood income through their traditional beadwork. They speak in their own voices about their childhood memories, their ambitions, their hopes for their children, and how it feels to share a husband with many co-wives. This is not a success story, but a story about a journey towards women's empowerment.
"In and Out of the Maasai Steppe is very insightful on so many levels. The anthropological detail is beautifully and very accessibly expressed. Its philosophical musings highly thought-provoking and its many references to the wider geo-political context deeply helpful. It will be a great introduction to students of anthropology and the history, politics, geography of sub-Saharan Africa, but beneath all this, Joy Stephens' book is a testament to our shared humanity, to hope, and to the wealth of what we can learn from our African siblings."
"This wonderful book gives an intimate and heartfelt portrait of a traditional way of life, and a fascinating insight into women's rights and the way that they are evolving within the context of an ancient culture. It explores so many social and environmental issues in a really meaningful way. What does development look like in practice and how does it impact on people, both positively and negatively, in the shadows of colonialism? Just about everything Joy Stephens writes relates to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which makes this book particularly timely. But the book will appeal just as much to the general reader."
Dr Stephen Scoffham, Reader in Sustainability and Education,Canterbury Christ Church University, U.K