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East Africa

Identifier: Film Collection no. 185

Scope and Contents

This film is comprised of bits and pieces that are probably outtakes of Alfred J. Klein's Equatorial Africa: Roosevelt's Hunting Grounds, made in 1923. The film opens with a celebration surrounding the female circumcision ceremony of young Kikuyu girls. The operation (clitoridectomy) itself is filmed but the quality of the film is so rough that the viewer must know beforehand what is being viewed: the woman performing the operation holds a knife; the young Kikuyu initiates wear white streaks, of ritual significance, down their noses. The scene moves to a dance performed by interlacustrine Bantu people, probably in Uganda, judging from the dress. The expedition's native staff members join in. Reeds are wound around calves and ankles as musical instruments. The sequence that follows is probably a section that remains of the finished Equatorial Africa. It is of a celebration in which the king dressed in a top hat and astride a donkey is attended to by his wives. (These are Nandi people identified through photos attached to the original copyright cards.) The next sequence is of Masai moran drinking blood from a freshly killed ox, followed by their common method of bleeding live oxen by shooting a blunted arrow into the jugular vein. The film ends with Klein's footage of a lion spearing by Masai people, whom Klein paid to enact the ritual. It is an exciting record of the Masai confronting and killing a lion, followed by a ceremonial dance around the dead creature. This Masai lion spearing footage is included in the Johnson film Simba, King of Beasts. Although Klein, in an article published in Collier's, identifies these people as Masai, the copyright cards, with photos attached, identify the lion hunters as Nandi people.


  • [1923?]

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Not available through interlibrary loan. Contact AMNH Library Special Collections for terms of access.


1 Film Reel (14 minutes) : silent, black and white ; 16 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (14 minutes)) : silent, black and white ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

3/4 in., U-Matic, viewing copy


Original format: 16 mm. negative; incomplete.


East Africa, [1923?]
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
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