Africa is the continent with the highest number of traditions in the world. The irony is that most of these traditions are unknown to the rest of the world. Remote African villages still have certain cultures that are very unusual and weird.
In this article, we will look at a couple of unusual African tradition you probably never heard about.
The wife stealing dance of the Wodaabe tribe
The Wodaabe is a sub-ethnic group of the Fulani tribe. They are found in northern Nigerian, north-Eastern Cameroon, South-West Chad, and the Western Region of Central African Republic. Part of their custom is to go dancing on selected nights. Usually, the dances are harmless except for the fact that men are allowed to steal women in the stillness of the night. The woman can be taken regardless of whether she is married or not and the man is allowed to keep her. The only way she can return is if she refuses the man or her husband catches him while stealing her.
The festival of the dead of the Chewa community
The Chewa community is one of the Bantu tribes of Malawi. The people of Chewa have a secret cult known as the Nyau who are recognized for covering their faces with masks. When a member of the tribe dies, the body of the dead is washed. The body is taken to a sacred place where the throat of the deceased is slit and water poured in through the slit. The water is squeezed out over and over till it comes out clean. You thought that was unusual? It gets more bizarre, the water is used to make a meal for the whole community.
Bull jumping in Ethiopia
It is usual to have young men in Africa pass through certain rituals to prove their manhood. In Ethiopia, it is no different as one of the practices involves a young boy stripping naked and jumping to land on the back of a bull after running from a distance. After this, he is required to run across the backs of several bulls arranged in a straight line. The practice is known as Hamar. The warrior-to-be’s female friends are made to cover their bodies with ochre mixed with fat. After this, they dance around and are flogged by the elders in support of their friend.
Sharo among the Fulani
This is mostly practiced by the Fulani of Benin Republic and it focuses on men about to start their families. It is more unlucky for the man when the bride picks the sharo. The sharo involves the flogging of the groom in front of the whole community. The man must not succumb to the pain of the flogging else the wedding is called off. So many young men have succumbed to the practice is gradually going into extinction. The more acceptable practices are the Koogwal or Kabal which are bride price and Islamic wedding ceremony respectively.