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Heart of Africa

Blunt arrow is the weapon of the moran in search of love

Tempera on canvas. 1995. 90 х 65 cm

Moran means a warrior. At Masai tribe, all men from 15 till 35 years are Morans. They live in special settlement - Manyate. They must not marry, but it is possible to have girlfriends who usually become their wives after reaching 35-years of age and the status of an elder.

Having chosen himself a girlfriend, Moran with a bow and arrow, with a tip wrapped up by a soft leather, hides in the bush near a track leading to a river. Sitting in an ambush, he waits the girl, whose breast has made him crazy during dance. The girl, pretending that there is nothing to suspect, goes to fill the calabash with water. The young man shoots the arrow to her, and leaves the ambush to show himself as good as he is. If the girl passes by, "not noticing" neither the warrior, nor the arrow, that means the Moran has failed; but otherwise, if the girl pickes up the arrow and brings it to the Moran, then she has agreed to become his girlfriend. Then they together would go to mother of the girl and ask how much meat or other food the Moran will daily bring to the family while the girl is living with him. Mother could not change the decision of the daughter but she could frighten off the Moran by asking too large reimbursement.

This custom obviously reminds me of a fairy tale about "Tsarevna-frog" and some other Russian and not only Russian fairy tales.




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