Africa is home to over 1000 different tribes and rich cultures with practices that are both amazing as well as scary, while others are just plain bizarre, like the ones below.
Here are 13 Most Bizarre African Cultural Practice Still In Existence
1. Female Genital Mutilation
Female Genital Mutilation also knowns as Femal Circumcision is the practice of cutting all or part of the external genitalia of a female. This practice occurs at various age in different cultures with some occurring during early childhood while others occurring during puberty or after the female starts having her menses while other cultures practice in during delivery of the first child of the victim.
Although the practice is still common in Africa, the rate has seen a “huge and significant decline” over nearly three decades, according to a new study.
2. Puberty Rites
Puberty rites otherwise called the rite of passage of a boy into manhood, or a girl into womanhood is an integral part of some African cultures and often a period of terror and suffering for the youth. Among the Kuria tribe of Kenya and the Dipo tribe of Ghana,this involves female circumcision while the boys are sometimes circumcised and put through a host of events including starvation and whipping in admission to adulthood.
3. Killing of Deformed Children
In some parts of sub-Saharan Africa, deformed children are seen as ‘evil spirits’ and so the community only deems it fit to kill the evil child and purify the mother with the blood of the infant.
4. Human Sacrifices
This barbaric practice is one ancient practuce that has refused to die, till today human sacrifices still occurs after the death of a traditional ruler and involves the use of human sacrifices to appease the deities of the land. Also in east Africa, As a result of the belief that certain body parts of albinistic people can transmit magical powers, people with albinism have been persecuted, killed and dismembered, and graves of albinos dug up and desecrated for sacrifices..
5. Killing of Twins
Since Mary Slessor stopped the killing of twins among the Ibibio people in Nigeria in the 19th century, numerous individuals and groups have followed suit with nationwide campaigns on the rights of twins to life. But in a certain Abuja Village Newborn twins Are still killed ‘Because They Are Evil’.
You can read more about this here
6. Virginity Testing
Virginity testing is a common practice in South Africa and in many other countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It’s conducted to determine whether or not a woman or a girl has had vaginal intercourse. The funny thing about this cultural practice is that some women cherish it and don’t want it to be banned.
You can read more about this below
South African Virgins Protest Over UN Call to Ban Virginity Testing
7. Child Marriage
Child marriage is a truly global problem that cuts across countries, cultures, religions and ethnicities. Child brides can be found in every region in the world, from the Middle East to Latin America, South Asia to Europe, but in Africa, it is highest.
In Africa, Approximately 39% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa are married before the age of 18. Country with the highest child marriage prevalence in Africa is Niger (76%) or while the lowest Algeria (3%). Child marriage is widespread in West and Central Africa (42%) as well as Eastern and Southern Africa (36%).
8. Widow Inheritance
Widow inheritance as a custom was commonly practiced in Africa during the days of our forefathers. In this custom, a man inherits the property and wife of his deceased brother or relative. The custom which was practiced then in order to ensure that a widow and her children are taken care of after the death of her husband is still been practiced today in some parts of Africa, especially among the Bemba, the Nsenga and the Lenje tribes in Zambia.
Of all the traditional ceremonies of the bodi tribe of Ethiopia, none is more fascinating and weird than the “Ka’el” festival which means “the holiday of the fat men”.
In the ka’el cultural festival, Bodi men compete to be the fattest in the village by drinking a gruesome mixture of blood and milk while living in isolation for six whole months. The winning fat man doesn’t get a prize but is crowned a hero for life by the rest of the tribe.
See also: 7 things didn’t know African tribal marks dying culture
10. Gerewol festival
The Wodaabe Tribe is a small subgroup of the Fulani ethnic group and can be found in the Northern parts of Nigeria as well as northeastern Cameroon, southwestern Chad and the western region of the Central African Republic.
The Wodaabe have a festival called the Gerewol Festival’ the bizarre cultural practice involves the members of the tribe both male and female dancing at night, while at the same time allowing the men of the tribe to steal any woman of their choice. It doesn’t matter if the woman is married or not, the tribe recognizes the new union as a legitimate marriage except on the grounds that the woman refuses or her husband tackles the man while he is trying to steal the woman.
11. The Chewa burial
The chewa’s are a bantu people of central and southern africa and the largest ethnic group in malawi.
Internationally they are mainly known for their masks and their secret societies, “Nyau”, but they also have a weird burial practice.
When a Chewa dies, his relatives take the dead body to a sacred place, take a knife and slit the throat open. They then pour water through the corpse to clean its bowels of all filth by squeezing the stomach to let it all out through the rear. They only stop once the water is clean. And no they don’t throw the water away.., they use that same water to cook a meal for the whole tribe.
See also: 7 weird practices from around East Africa
Magun is a very popular cultural but diabolic practice in western Africa and also some parts of east Africa.
Literally translated to mean “do not climb” in English Language, this bizarre cultural practice is done with juju by any man who suspects his wife of infidelity, it entails him rubbing a concoction given to him by a diabolic priest on the body of his wife without her knowledge.
In any event that the woman sleeps with another man other than her husband, the magun makes the man’s genitals to get stuck in the woman’s.
The Magun is so powerful that the man try as hard as he may won’t be able to separate himself from the woman. Atleast not until the woman husbands arrive the scene.
See also: 7 ancient cultural practices still prevalent parts Africa
13. Wife swapping
The practice, referred to as “Okujepisa Omukazendu”, is common among Ovahimba and Ovazimba tribes in the Kunene and Omusati regions, a nomadic tribe in Namibia.
The phrase, ‘Okujepisa Omukazendu’, literally means, ‘offering wife to a guest’. It is a bizarre cultural practice, whereby a man decides to please a friend or a highly esteemed guest by allowing him sleep with his wife.
Apparently the practice builds friendships and reduces promiscuity.