You have to taste a culture to understand it. – Deborah Cater
Africa is a beautiful continent filled with thousands of traditional practices, some known, and others unknown.
Some of these customs are still being practiced in the remote parts of the continent, many years after civilization. These ethnic communities practice certain traditions that will leave some people shocked and others enthralled.
Here’s an introduction to five different tribes from across Africa with jaw dropping customs.
Viewers discretion is advised as some of the images contain scene of nudity.
Sharo beating to earn a wife and respect:
In some parts of the Fulani (Nothern-Nigeria) community, men who are ready to start a family do not get the leisure of just walking to the bride and popping the question, especially if the bride side picks ‘Sharo’ as the requirement for the marriage to sail through.
‘Sharo’ involves flogging. Through this exercise, the groom is beaten up by the older members of the community so as to earn a wife and respect. If the man is not strong enough to bare the pain, the wedding is called off. Many young people from this tribe have succumbed to the flogging, which accounts for why this is not a compulsory practice.
Other than flogging, the bride’s family can pick ‘Koowgal’, which is a dowry payment option or the ‘Kabbal’, an Islamic ceremony similar to marriage but in the absence of the bride and groom.
Banyankole’s ‘potency test’:
In many African cultures, an aunt plays important roles among them; being advising young nieces as they get through life stages including adolescence and marriage.
In Uganda the case is a little extreme as one’s aunt is not only used to advise a new bride but they also have to have sex with the groom to prove his ‘potency’. Additionally, the aunt has to test the brides ‘purity’ before the bride and groom are allowed to consummate their marriage. This custom has fast gone extinct but now in some hinterlands, the tradition directs the aunts to prove the couple’s potency by listening in or watching as the couple engages in sexual intercourse.
Bull jumping in Ethiopia:
In some parts of Ethiopia, young boys have to undergo some form of ritual to prove their manhood. This involves him stripping naked, running, jumping and landing on a bull. This is then followed by running across several bulls arranged in a straight and closely-knit herd pulled by the tail and horns by older men. The practice is known as ‘Hamar’.
Female friends of the ‘warrior’ are made to cover their whole body, head, and hair with ‘ochre’ a mixture of fat, then dance and flogedby elders until they are sore all in an effort to prove loyalty to their friend who is about to prove he has come of age.
Research shows that although this practice is not been practiced in the open, some communities in the deep still secretly practice it.
Chewa’s festival of the dead:
The ‘Chewa’ community is a Bantu tribe found in Malawi. This group is known for its secretive society known as ‘Nyau’ (covering their faces in masks). During the burial ceremony of a tribe member, it is customary for the body of the deceased to be washed. To wash the corpse, the body is taken to a sacred place where the cleansing is done by slitting the throat and pouring water through the insides of the dead. The water is squeezed out of the body until it comes out clean.
Wodaabe’s wife stealing night dance:
The Wodaabe ethnic group can be found in northeastern Cameroon, the western region of Central Africa Republic and southwestern Chad. It’s a subgroup of the Fulani ethnic group.
In their customary festivity, members of the community go dancing at night but the whole night is not all about dancing. While the dancing is going on, men are allowed to steal women from their tribe. It doesn’t matter if the woman is married or not, the man is allowed to keep her unless the woman refuses or her husband catches the man in the process of stealing the woman and stops the process.
Thanks to civilization, some of these traditions are not been carried out anymore. Do you know any interesting yet unknown practice in some parts of Africa, please share with us in the comment section.