Zanzibar: Talk to Daudi Lekeru and you feel relaxed and blessed by the minute you talk to him. He is one of the ten Maasai who protect the White Sands Resort on Zanzibar.
His voice is calm and soft and his eyes are shining like the sun on the Indian Ocean (sounds lofty, but it is really like this). I am impressed by the way he puts together his jewellery and it is not only beautiful, but has a deep meaning. Originally, Daudi is from the main land Tanzania, from Lesoit Manyara, where he was born and raised to be a hunter, something very different from being a guard and kite Maasai at White Sands.
I was curious and had a chat with him about what he usually does when he is in his hometown and how his life goes on when being on Zanzibar.
IRMA: Daudi, how do you usually spend your day at White Sands?
DAUDI LEKERU: I patrol the beach and from June till April I am also working at the kite surfing school where I take care of the equipment, prepare the kites and teach our guest to kite surf.
IRMA: But you are mainly here to guard the property. Why do people respect you so much and are fearful when they intend to do bad?
DL: I guess it is because of the way we look and what we are known for. We are hunters and we kill lions without guns if necessary. Our costume, the Shuka, is worn and tied in a special way and we wear a special cuff bracelet, an Emsita, which is kind of an award so people see how big the lion was that we killed and how we did it. Africans know the codes and my tenure is telling them my whole story.
IRMA: But you must miss hunting when you are in Zanzibar, there are no lions.
DL: Yes, I go home every other month.
IRMA: How do you prepare for a hunt?
DL: Last time I had to kill a lion because he ate my cows and I gathered with my friends to get ready to catch him. We celebrate a kind of ritual before. We drink milk and eat meat and when we come back with the killed animal we drink its blood and celebrate.