National Geographic : 2004 Jul
which the Barabaig consider to be one of their halot,or enemies of the people. Through grueling ritual hunts for elephants, lions, and other formidable adver saries, Barabaig men aspire to become ghadyirochand,or heroes. Those who slay a dangerous animal using only spears are showered with honors, including gifts of cattle, sexual privileges, and lifelong prestige. The 50,000 or so Barabaig living in central Tanzania are a remnant of the once powerful Datoga, a people decimated by European colonizers, introduced diseases, and intertribal warfare. After Tanzania gained independence in 1961, the government appropriated much of the Barabaig's traditional grazing land for agricultural development, forcing many of the semi-nomadic herders southward in search of pasture. Today the Barabaig live AREA on the margins of Tanzanian society, struggling to maintain their cultural tradi tions. The government prosecutes anyone hunting 1m elephants outside of licensed safaris, so Barabaig hunts are conducted in strict secrecy. (Photographer Gilles Nicolet spent six months with the Barabaig before he was allowed to join a hunt.) Preparations . for the arduous pursuit include a battery of exercises INIAN to hone strength and battle readiness (right). Each OCEAN man receives two to four spears, depending on his ........ level of experience (top right). Novices must prove abas their mettle before earning more than two weapons.