The Chalk of the Town: Maasai Sandals

Maasai Sandals, David Lam Park

Maasai Sandals, David Lam Park

Maasai Sandals

Maasai Sandals


”I think people need to understand the culture of the others and respect it. You should not use it to your own benefit, leaving the community – or the owner of the culture – without anything. If you just take what belongs to somebody, and go and display it and have your fortune, then it is very wrong.”
– Isaac ole Tialolo, a Maasai elder leader and chair of the Maasai Intellectual Property Initiative. In conversation with the BBC, he expressed his discontent with organizations that currently sell his culture as a brand.

It is estimated that over 10,000 companies all over the world may be using the Maasai name in their products.
The top 6 of these each have gained over $100,000 in sales over the last ten years, using the Maasai name or aspects of their culture.
“Not a cent of these profits went to the originators of the culture themselves.”

Source: ‘Commoditizing a Culture: The Negative Effects of Branding on Minority Groups’. Business Today, 06.Jul.2014

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