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Maasai rites get Unesco protection

Several Maasai rites of passage are to be protected by the UN's cultural body, Unesco, which has declared them intangible cultural heritage in need of urgent safeguarding.

Inclusion on the list attracts international support and co-operation thereby helping communities to conserve their cultural practices and traditions.

Three male rites of Kenya's Maasai community are to be given protected status; they are Enkipaata (the induction of boys leading to initiation), Eunoto (the shaving of the 'warriors' � known as morans � that paves the way to adulthood) and Olng'esherr (the meat-eating ceremony that marks the end of moranism and the beginning of eldership).

Also listed by Unesco as in need of urgent safeguarding in Thursdays' announcement are a form of Egyptian hand puppetry and Algeria's water measures, known as foggars.

Source: Voice of Nigeria