5 Bizarre Traditions in Africa that should definitely scare you

by Rita Ojieh

Africa remains the largest continent that is highly sophisticated in culture. However, some traditions seem to be really awkward in their practices, and we would be talking about a few of them below:

1. The Trokosi Tradition of Ghana (Ritual Servitude)

Ghana is a country that is widely known for significant development as regards politics and the socio-economic status of her people. However, it is unfathomable that the Trokosi tradition of sending virgin girls to shrines to become slaves to the ‘gods’ when a relative of theirs commits a crime still exists in some remote parts of Ghana till today. According to the tradition, this is done as a means to appease the gods and save the families in question from calamities. As disturbing as this already sounds, it does not end there. Some of these girls could remain there for the rest of their lives. If I may ask, what then happens to the relative that was found wanting? He goes scot-free? Really bizarre if you ask me!

2. Festival of the Dead of the Malawians

This is done by a particular Malawian tribe called the Bantus. As a sign of honor for the dead, they wash the corpse and collect the water for the people of the town to cook food with it. Invariably, they consume water used to clean up dead bodies as a sign of reverence. This then implies that if they ever have cases of mass deaths, the community would likely cook so much ‘’honor meals’’ and still have enough corpse water to last the whole year!

3. Fertility Test of the Banyakoles

This has to be the most unbelievable! So this particular tribe in Uganda says that before a girl gets married, her aunt must confirm the potency of the intended groom before marriage by sleeping with him for clarification. In addition, she would carry out some secret measures in checking if the bride has not had any sexual activities before marriage and could go to the extent of being present during the consummation of the bride and groom for evidence. But the real question is that when she discovers that the groom is not sexually capable, does she continue to ‘confirm’ subsequently available grooms? Poor Aunty!

4. The Sans’ Healing Dance

The people of San are known for their weird culture of walking on fire. It is even more ridiculous that it is still being practiced till date. According to them, it is a highly spiritual ritual that is used to cast out unwanted spirits that cause sickness and pain. So they dance around the fire for a while and then begin to walk over these flames. Interesting. Could this be why Botswana as a country did not record any case of COVID-19? Yeah, maybe!

5. Lift Plate of Surma Tribe

This tradition is really common as movies like Black Panther and others have featured this tradition. A hole is created in the lower lip, and a disc-like object is placed while the lower lip is stretched to fit the disc in. It is seen as a way of beautification and adornment. It is really surprising that creating a large hole around the lower lip could ever be found as a thing of fancy. Children in this generation would literally cry their ducts out.

So I came up with these five bizarre traditions. However, there are still so many more to go. If you have some you could share, I would love to hear them out in the comment section.

Love + Light,

by Rita Ojieh

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