Africa has always been known for her rich and bizarre cultures. Culture is a way of life of every human community as we are social beings irrespective of race or color.

Although a lot of these cultures have been eradicated by modernization and Religion, some places in Africa still hold their cultures to a high esteem till date.

Check out a list of 7 Amazing cultures in Africa.

  1. Bull jumping in Ethiopia
Bull jumping in Ethiopia

The Hamer people of Ethiopia have a certain ritual for initiating young boys into manhood. The practice is done with castrated male cattle.

When a boy is gradually growing to become a man, his family organizes this ceremony of cattle jumping. The essence of this ritual is to put his bravery and courage to test. Several bulls are arrange and he is required to jump and run across the backs of the cattle without falling. They young boys are usually stripped naked for this practice.

During the cattle jumping ceremony, if the young boy manages to run over the bulls’ backs without falling four times, he is then bequeathed the title Maza, a major milestone that means he is ready to marry a woman chosen for him by his father.

2. The lip plates of the Mursi

The lip plates of the Mursi

Lip stretching is practiced by women in Sudan, Ethiopia and some parts of South America till date. In the Mursi tribe of Ethiopia, when a girl reaches the age of 15 or 16, her lower lip is cut by her mother or another older woman in the settlement. The cut is held open by a wooden plug for about three months while it heals.

Men are also known to expand their ears and elongate their lips. In this tribe, beauty is defined by how large your lip plate is.

3. Chewaโ€™s festival of the dead

Chewaโ€™s festival of the dead

In Malawi, there is a particular tribe known as the Chewa where they practice very bizarre burial ceremony.

Generally, it is believed here that if someone is deceased, he/she died as a result of witchcraft. So in order to purify the soul of the dead, they carry out a very weird practice of slitting the throat of the dead body, then pouring water in and squeezing through till the water drains down the anus. This is not the weirdest part. They keep repeating this process until clean water comes out. Wait for it.. The water is used to prepare a meal for the whole community. This practice has been known to spread very deadly diseases.

4. The courtship dance of the Wodaabe

The courtship dance of the Wodaabe

Unlike the norm we are used to where women make up and dress up for a dance in front of a prince or a male suitor, the opposite is the case with the Woodabe tribe in Africa. Wodaabe people are actually a subgroup of the larger Fulbe-speaking Fulani. They prefer to call themselves Bororo. Fulani are a nomadic people who are known for cattle rearing. Unlike other tribes in this part of Africa who are largely Islamized, the Wodaabe are nomads who believe in animism. They are known to worship physical beauty; not as superficial decoration but as an intrinsic part of their culture which must be glorified and paraded for the enjoyment of others.

During the courtship dance, young Wodaabe men make up and put on beautiful beads, hats with ostrich feathers and other ornaments and dance under the scorching sun to impress a Woodabe woman. The women look out for height, white teeth, slim nose and a symmetrical face.

5. Sharo beating to earn a wife and respect

Sharo beating to earn a wife and respect by the Fulani tribe

In the Northern part of Nigeria, the Fulani tribe are known to practice the Sharo festival. The word “Sharo” means flog in Fulani.

In this festival, two young men seeking a girl’s hand in marriage come into competition that involve flogging each other in turns. Each contestant receives about ten strokes of the cane from the opponent. If he expresses pain or flinches, he is termed a coward by the girl’s family and not worthy of marrying their daughter. In this part of Africa, men’s strength and vigour are measured by how many scares he has sustained. He is allowed to take as many wives as he wants as long as he can withstand more strokes.

6. The healing dance of the San

The healing dance of the San

In a bid to drive out illnesses perceived to be brought on by evil spirits, the people of the Kalahari region of Namibia and Botswana in Southern Africa practice the San healing dance. They gather round a burning fire and dance round the fire while enchanting and producing rythmic sounds with each step. Sometimes it lasts for several hours or all trhough the night. During this process, it is believed that the dancers enter into a trance and connect with the spirit of the ancestors. The Shaman (healer) touches the sick and drags out the evil spirit causing the sickness and the person becomes whole.

Watch the healing dance of the San

7. Spitting in Maasai tribe

Spitting in Maasai tribe

In Kenya and Northern Tanzania, there is a nomadic group of people who spit as a sign of greeting and respect. Unlike other parts of the world where spitting is seen as an uncultured and disgraceful act, the reverse is the case here.

During wedding ceremonies, a father spits on the bride’s head and breast as a sign of blessing. Mothers and family members spit on new born babies head to bless them and wish them well. Spitting is also a sign of agreement between two people. They spit on their hands and rub it before shaking hands together.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.