Culture shock is a thing for sociologists and cultural anthropologists because of certain unbelievable ways of life of people across the globe. This piece would discuss some of the strange African cultures. So, be set to be astonished. But, get out of here if you are hoping to substantiate your sentiment about Africa being barbaric, strange cultures are not peculiar to the continent.
For instance, while we are yet to substantiate claims about the Walibri tribe men in central Australia shaking their penises rather than hands to great each other, it can be authenticated that parents in the Kingdom of Cambodia, a Southeast Asian nation, build sex huts for their daughters, encouraging them to have sex with as many men as possible in order to find a husband. Having said that, let’s get down to business.
Top 10 Surprising and Strange African Cultures
1. Uganda’s Aunt Potency Testing of Neice’s Husband
Among the Banyankole tribe in Uganda, East Africa, children are the pride of a woman. she must have at least a child to earn a status among her people. The desire of most Banyankole women is not just to get married but to as well raise as many children as possible. It is probably because of this that the tribe leaves nothing to chance when it comes to authenticating the potency of a suitor at marriage.
It is said that the aunt of a niece would have to have sex with the groom to confirm that he is truly a man before he consummates his marriage. If the marriage is happening among families that are not particularly enthusiastic about upholding the cultural dictates, the aunt can just watch the groom’s first lovemaking to his wife or listen from close quarters.
2. Sudanese Latuka Tribe’s Bride Kidnapping
Let’s assume you are a young man of the Latuka tribe in South Sudan, Northern Africa, and there is this fine lass you’d love to have as a life partner, all you have to do is to kidnap her from her father’s house. It doesn’t matter if she fancies you or not, once you have kidnapped her, it up to your elderly male relatives and her father to thrash things out.
Your relatives on your behalf would ask the lass’ father to give his blessings for marriage. If he does, you will then present yourself for him to give you some decent beating. After this, you are as good as a married man. Nevertheless, if he refuses to give his blessings, it’s up to you to decide if you want to return his daughter to him. If you don’t, you can go ahead and marry her. Crazy huh?
3. Sharo – The Fulani’s Lashing of Suitor
There is only one way to pick the best suitors among the several suitors asking for a maiden hand in marriage in the Fulani custom – Sharo. The manliness of the suitors will be tested. How? They will all receive a good lashing. Those who can’t bear the severe thrashing would be eliminated. The suitor who received all the whippings would ultimately become the in-law.
4. The Wodaabe’s Wife Stealing Dance Festival
The Wodaabe people are nomadic cattle-herders and are loosely scattered from Nigeria to the Central African Republic, Chad, and Cameroon. Their Gerewol festival, an annual dance courtship competition is somewhat similar to what we have in #2 above. At the festival, Wodaabe men dress up to dance with the hope of impressing and stealing another man’s wife.
It is completely acceptable to steal a man’s wife and have sex with her. Her husband has no option but to live with it. If he doesn’t want his wife to be stolen or suspects that his wife wants a man to steal her, all he can do is to stop her from attending the Gerewol festival. If he can’t do this, his life partner is literally up for grabs for the entire Wodaabe men. She can have as much as she wants of them,
5. Namibia’s Offering of Wives to Visitors for Sex
In Northern Namibia, the Okujepisa Omukazendu treat is the most prestigious way the people of Ovahimba and Ovazimba tribes welcome their male visitors. To make the guest feel at home, a man would order his wife to go in and spend the night with the visitor. Although rare, wives can equally require their visiting friends to go in and be with their husbands.
It has has been speculated that the essence of this strange African culture is to eradicate jealousy and encourage oneness. Meanwhile, it is believed that this culture is also practiced by the Tiv people of Nigeria.
6. Southern Africa’s Reed Dance/Virginity Testing
Umhlanga, an annual dance ceremony meant to celebrate virginity in Swaziland is known as Umkhosi woMhlanga in South Africa. The culture is peculiar to the Swazi and Zulu people. It all has to do with maidens completely bare-breasted dancing for their respective kings. Before they can do this, they would have to queue up to have their virginity tested.
This is normally done in a traditional way which majorly revolves around examining the physical features of the vagina and shallow inserts into the organ to see if the hymen is intact. We learned that ladies who are no longer virgins, for fear of being stigmatized, go as far as inserting raw meat into their vaginas so as to pass the test.
7. Leblouh – Mauritania’s Force-Feeding of Girls for Marriage
Here, it is believed that a lady is more desirable and would attract fine suitors if she is well fed and robust. As such, young girls and maidens from as low as five years old to teenagers are being secluded and forced to consume a large portion of food and milk by their fatteners who would inflict pain on them if they fail to do so.
While this practice is most common in Mauritania, Northwestern Africa, it has also been associated with the people of southern Morocco and the people of Cross River state in southeastern Nigeria.
8. Ethiopia’s Bull Jumping
For Ethiopia’s Hamer tribe, a male child isn’t a man until he jumps the bull. That is the only way he can prove his manhood and earn his respect among his people. The culture is like a rite of passage a young man of the Hamer tribe must go through before he can assert himself as a man and take his first bride.
While it is expected of the young man to strip naked, run, jump on the back of a bull and run across the back of several bulls lined-up for the event, his female friends would be seriously whipped. They are expected to receive as much pain as possible from the whipping to indicate their loyalty to the young man who is about to become a Maza – accomplished man.
9. Kenya and Tanzania’s Massai Tribe Spit Greeting
You will find the Massai people in Tanzania and Kenya and they can brag about owning some of the strange African cultures. Prominent among them is their spit greeting. If you are one of them, you will have to spit to greet. It is unacceptable to offer an elder a handshake without first spitting into your hands.
More to that, the Massai tribe would spit on a newborn and tell the baby that he/she is everything bad and undesirous. From what we learned, the tribe believes that saying sweet words to a newborn is tantamount to cursing the child with a bad life.
10. Maasai Moran Lion Fight
As a Maasai boy child, you will be spat on at birth and told that you are of no good. When you grow up, between the age of 14 and 30, you will be regarded as a Moran and, it would be expected of you to prove those who said you are of no good wrong by showing that you are a man.
Beyond living in isolation in the bush, it would be expected of you to hunt down a lion.