Welcome to Loliondo
Almost unnoticed by the global mainstream media an out most injustice is taking place in the ‘Cradle of Mankind’. Maasai people are violently evicted by Tanzanian police from their pastures and villages to make room for commercial hunting and safaris.
Welcome to Loliondo tells the untold story that evolves in one of the world’s finest locations for safaris; a story quite different from the postcards impressions of the numerous tourists who visit the areas every year.
Behind the presumably harmonic surface of a rich and diverse wildlife, tourism and traditionally living Maasai people, international travel agencies and rich investors from the United Arab Emirates are willing to pay large amounts of money to get access to the areas of the wildlife reserve. The same areas where the Maasai are living their semi nomadic life with their herds. A life in harmony with nature, since the Maasai do not hunt the wildlife, which can be seen grazing side by side with their livestock.
But now Maasai villages are burned down in a bitter dispute over the land. In the film we meet Nkodidio who is shot in the head by policemen one day when he’s herding his livestock. He survived to tell his story, but lost sight on one eye and is facing legal charges for trespassing the land in which he lived his entire life.
We also meet Herry Guy, a young Maasai and musician. One of his songs is about the ongoing injustice towards and displacement of the Maasai, and the song gets airtime on the radio. Music is his weapon in the fight for justice.
The Maasai try to establish dialog with the authorities, and organizes demonstrations to make their protest to the evictions. So far the attempts to influence the decision makers haven’t been successful, and the evictions of Maasai continue as foreign investments rises.
As late as March 2013 the authorities announced that even more Maasai families are to leave the area to make room for more tourists. In an appeal to the international community the Elders of the Maasai call for help and stating that it is the last hope.
Wellcome to Loliondo is the documentation of a little known factual drama which is bearing striking resemblances to the fictive plot of James Camerons Avatar: the violent displacement of a people living in pact with nature due to cynical commercial objectives.
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