7 Weird Practices From Around East Africa

The region of East Africa is well known for its customs, cultural practices and traditions etc. From Witchcraft, to circumcision etc, there are various strange traditions and customs that a person can find in the region.

Below are 7 weird practices from around East Africa.

7. Funeral Traditions

Funeral Tradition in kenya

The teso community in Kenyan generally bury their dead lying sideways with clasped palms underneath the cheeks,the body is then positioned such that it is facing the deceased homesteads.

It is a common belief that placing the body in such a position will give the deceased a peace of mind in the after life.

Also in some parts of Ethiopia mostly rural parts, it is believed that failure to give proper burial to the dead will result in the disturbance of the family by the spirit of the dead person.

Witchcraft in East Africa

6. Traditional Medicine

In East african culture, it is an ubiquitous belief that illnesses are not caused by natural causes but are punishment for wrong doing or possession by the evil spirits. In lieu of this,  instead of taking western drugs, traditional Ethiopians when sick will always certainly seek the help of traditional healers, whose job is to check the sick, and administer to him the necessary herbs and depending on the nature of the illness, spiritual intervention.

Traditional healer in Ethiopia
Traditional herbs seller in Ethiopia

5. Circumcision Ceremony – Bukusu

The Bukusu circumcision ceremony is another cultural practice that is undoubtedly one of the weirdest in Kenya.

During these ceremonies the young men usually strip naked, put on a loin cloth and paint their whole bodies with white chalk paste. They then start moving from one village to another while dancing and singing. Afterwards, they are smeared with mud in front of a crowd of people, before the procession embarks on a trek to the site where the circumcision will take place.

The ritual is carried out in public by a traditional circumciser and without an anaesthetic. The youth must face it bravely without flinching, to demonstrate their courage.

Bukusu tribe circumcision ceremony
Photo source: widerimage.reuters.com

Read also:7 Fascinating Cultures From Around Africa

 4. Killing of Albinos

Killing of albino's in East Africa
Recently, some parts of East Africa (Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda) was singled out as the most dangerous place for albinos. This is because most people in this region believe that people with albinism can be sources of immense wealth. They argue that their body parts can bring fortune.

Read Also: 14 creepy beliefs about the ritualistic killing of albino’s in tanzania
This belief has resulted in massive deaths of albinos in the region.

3. Ritual Murders

Ritual murders in East Africa

This practice of witchcraft is not practiced in east Africa alone but all of Africa. Many African cultures strongly believe in witch craft. Misfortunes are not considered a normal occurrence and so many people especially businessmen go to seek the services of traditional witch doctors for lucky charms, or to help remove spells cast on them by ‘competition or jealous members of the community’. Things demanded by a typical traditional witch doctor often include large amounts of money, and even strange items like certain body parts, New born baby, albino parts etc.
Read also:7 Fascinating Cultures From Around Africa

2. Female Circumcision

Female circumcision in East africa

Amongst many other east african cultural practices, this horrible and traumatizing tradition is still highly applauded in the Sabiny tribe of Uganda.

The circumcision ceremony is carried out several times around the year to women and young girls. The process involves the cutting-off  of the criteria plus part or all of the labia minora the most sensitive part of the female orifice using crude implements.

It is done because of the belief that it is the only way to control a woman’s sexuality.

Click here to view pictures

1. Lip Stretching

7 weird practices from around East Africa
Courtesy of Gusjer on Flickr.com

In the Mursi tribe of Ethiopia, when a girl becomes a teenager she begins the voluntary process of lip stretching.
First of all her bottom teeth is removed to make space for the plate, then Her lower lip is cut, by her mother or by another woman of her settlement, The cut is held open by a lip plate made of clay or wood until the wound heals, which can take around 3 months.

Because lip plugs make talking difficult, women only wear theirs in the company of men, but remove them to eat and sleep or when they are only in the company of women or children.

It’s pertinent to note that it is the choice of the teenage girls to have their lips pierced, and not something enforced on them.


Uzonna Anele
Uzonna Anele
Anele is a web developer and a Pan-Africanist who believes bad leadership is the only thing keeping Africa from taking its rightful place in the modern world.


  1. aside from the killing of albinos, most of the things mentioned here are also practiced in some parts of West africa..


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