7 Bizzare Customs and traditions in Africa

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There are more than one hundred different tribes in Africa. Some of which are still in the most isolated parts of the world and their customs and traditions will shock the world.

Wodaabe Tribe of Niger


In the Wodaabe tribe of Niger in West Africa, men are known to steal each other’s wives. The Wodaabe’s first marriage is arranged by their parents in infancy and must be between cousins of the same lineage. The Wodaabe have a festival called the Gerewol Festival which calls for members of the tribe dancing at night. The dancing is not strange except for it also allows for men of the tribe to steal women from the tribe. 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 catches the man while he is trying to steal the woman.

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Chewa Tribe of Malawi

The Chewa are a Bantu people of central and southern Africa and the largest ethnic group in Malawi. The Chewa are mainly known for their masks and their secret societies, called Nyau, as well as their agricultural techniques. They however have a more interesting ritual that some people may find disturbing. It is the custom of the people that when a tribe member dies, the body is taken to a sacred place where they cut the throat of the deceased open. The corpse is then cleaned by pouring water inside the dead body and squeezed through the stomach until water comes out clean. What is most shocking of this is that they use that same water to cook a meal for the whole tribe.

Fulani People of Nigeria

The Fulani tribes practise Sharo before getting married. Here the groom is beaten by the older members of the community so as to earn a wife and respect. If the man is unable to bear the pain, the wedding is called off and it is disturbing to note that many young boys die during this ritual perhaps accounting for why the Sharo isn’t compulsory or recognized in certain tribes.

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Surma Tribe of Sudan and Ethiopia

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The people of Surma tribe are found in southern Sudan as well as southwestern Ethiopia. During teenage years, females undergo the lip stretching procedure which involves removing their lower teeth to accommodate a lip plate; the lip plate is increased in size yearly until it is an astounding size. Some of the men do this similar exercise with their ears. They also indoctrinate their warriors known as ‘stick fighters’ by inflicting scars on them, the belief is that the more scars they have, the more attractive they are to female members of the tribe.

Banyankole Tribe Of Uganda

ankole marriage

In the Banyankole tribe, a minority tribe living in Uganda, marriage means quite a burden to the bride’s aunt.When a couple wants to get married, the aunt has to have sex with the groom as a “potency test” and furthermore, she has to test the bride’s virginity. Another piece of tradition says that the duty of the aunt was to prove the potency of the bridegroom by just watching or listening to the sexual intercourse between the bridegroom and her niece.

Hamer Tribe of Ethiopia

In the Ethiopian Hamer tribe, young boys are made to prove their manhood by running, jumping and landing on the back of a bull, before then attempting to run across the backs of several bulls and this is usually done in the nude. Interesting to note is that before this ritual takes place, female friends of the boy to undergo the test cover their whole body, head and hair with red ochre mix with fats. They then have to dance and get whipped by elders until they have scars and wounds on their body. This is to show their loyalty to their friend.

Massai Tribe of Kenya

A Massai man drinking blood

The Massai tribe, found in Kenya and Tanzania, spit as a way of saying hello. While the English man would say hello, spitting is a way of greeting. Asides that, when a baby is born, it is the custom of the men to spit on the newborn and refer to him as bad. They believe this would protect the baby from evil spirits. Maasai warriors also spit in their hands before shaking the hand of an elder. Furthermore, the Massai tribe is also famous for its drinking of fresh animal blood.

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