Description: I took this photo on my 3rd trip to Africa - a visit to Tanzania in December 2001. We came across these Maasai ilmoran (warriors) many miles from any village, in the middle of the Tanzanian bush. They were a group of about 15 young men -- boys we would call them in the West -- and they appeared to be walking around carrying nothing but a stick each, in lion and leopard territory. To a young woman from the US, this was mind-boggling. (It still sort of is.)
They were extremely serious, and at no point smiled. Our meeting with them was very brief, and I had less than a minute to get a few furtive photos. Our guide spoke to them, and translated that they were out to kill a lion. So as for this practice being outdated or only a myth - well, I for one don't believe it. Nothing about them told me they were joking. In fact, I'm quite sure they were dead serious.
I've always liked this shot because it captures their attitude and disposition when we met them.
Tanzanian bush, December 2001