6 Weird African Cultures You Should Know

african culture

The beauty of African culture is part of what distinguishes Africa in the world at large. We have listed 6 weird African cultures you should know. These cultures were picked across Africa.

  • The spitting culture of Maasi tribe.

Spitting African culture is weird to some people, but to the Maasi tribe in Kenya and Tanzania, this is of great value. The Maasai tribe can be found both in Kenya and Tanzania. Spitting is a huge sign of respect and blessing for the Maasai tribe. Babies are spitted on as a way of welcoming them into the world. In addition, they spit on their palms before greeting each other. 

Also, this is done for the bride, during a wedding ceremony. The father gives his blessings by spitting on the bride’s forehead. In addition to their unique culture, they are also known for drinking fresh animal blood.

  • Groom’s potency test by Bride’s aunty culture in Uganda

african culture

A minority group in Uganda, the Banyankole tribe, are on the list of our weird African culture. They are known for their unique marriage tradition among other African countries. Marriage preparation for a bride starts at the age of 8 years. Bride’s aunt is expected to train her on how to make a good wife and equally see her through her stages in life to a marriage level. 

The aunt’s function is not limited to that, she also has the duty of making sure the bride is a virgin till his wedding day and also tests the potency of the groom. Therefore, when a couple wants to get married, the aunt sometimes is expected to have sex with the groom as a “potency test” and furthermore, she has to test the bride’s virginity.

Most importantly, if the bride passes the virginity test, it’s presumed she has no knowledge of sex or how to please her new husband sexually, and if a girl is found to be not a virgin before marriage, she is to face the death penalty or banishment from society. Nevertheless, culture is culture and still remains valuable to any entity that values such culture.

Read Also: Yoruba Traditional Wedding

  • The wife steals. 

The Wodaabe tribe of Niger is in the Western part of Africa, occupied by the Fulanis who are extended to the Northern part of Nigeria. The famous annual festival where anyone’s wife can be openly stolen is called the Gerewol Festival. 

The first marriage, in the Wodaabe tribe, is arranged by their parents in infancy. Wives already given to a man from infancy can be stolen during the festival if not caught. Men dress to impress ladies at the festival. They dance and use makeup at its highest level to make them attractive enough. Their faces are painted with red clay, use eyeliners to make their eyes appear whiter, and wear a shade of lipstick that will make their teeth appear whiter. In addition, they wear white ostrich feathers in their hair making them appear taller.

During the festival, three of the tribe’s most beautiful women are chosen to judge as the men display through a dance, moving in circles. In the process, if a man is able to steal away another man’s wife undetected, then they become socially recognized.

  • Lip stretching

African cultural heritage

One of the most popular and weird African cultures can be found within the Surma tribe. The Surma tribe is made up of southern Sudan and southwestern Ethiopia. The process of lip stretching starts with removing the lower teeth for it to accommodate the lip plate. As years pass by, the lip stretches more and more. 

Similarly, their men also stretch their ears. As for the Surma tribe, scars are considered a way of being attractive to men in society. 

  • Beating for wife

The beating for wife tradition is found in the Fulani tribes, this practice is called ‘Sharo’. The Shoro festival is a one-week-long festival, which features young men who are not married yet. The young men are beaten by the older members of the community so as to earn a wife and respect. If the man is not strong enough to bear the pain, such young man is not considered ready for a wife.

Other than flogging, the bride’s family can pick ‘Koowgal’, which is a dowry payment option or the ‘Kabbal’, an Islamic ceremony similar to marriage but in the absence of the bride and groom. 

  • Bull Jumping

Image showing the bull jumping culture in Africa

Another African culture can be found in Ethiopia. Young boys have to undergo some form of ritual to prove their manhood. This involves a series of events. A young boy has to strip naked, run, jump and land on the back of a bull. This is then followed by running across the backs of several bulls arranged in a straight and closely-knit herd pulled by the tail and horns horns by older men. The practice is known as ‘Hamar’.


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