Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


Africana Studies


Chinua Thelwell

Committee Members

Mei Mei Sanford

Deenesh Sohoni

Brad Weiss


Tanzania’s Maasai communities have historically occupied the northern and northeastern regions of the country, employing semi-nomadic and pastoralist practices. However, since the late 1990s, influxes of young, male Wamaasai have migrated to urban centers seeking economic and social opportunity, to diversify income when environmental changes limit the efficacy of pastoralism, and for other various reasons to be discussed herein. This research investigates the rural to urban migration of Maasai labor migrants from the northern regions to the coastal economic center of Dar es Salaam, utilizing ethnographic research and structured conversations.

Further, this research explores the processes through which urban Wamaasai reconcile aspects of their identity perceived to be ‘traditional’ with their post-migration urban lifestyles, the challenges urban migration presents, and the resulting community networking techniques employed to mitigate the risks associated with migration within Dar es Salaam. Special attention is paid to the social incorporation of Maasai migrants in terms of the acquisition of social capital, access to government and non-profit resources, and ethnolinguistic group dynamics in the migration destination. This work uncovers the nuanced and innovative ways in which Wamaasai translate group membership into tactics for survival and success after urban migration.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

On-Campus Access Only