By Kajuju Murori, The African Exponent, 02/08/2018
Africa possesses some of the strangest traditional practices, ranging from washing a corpse and using the collected water to prepare a meal for fellow community members.
Africa has many practices some of which are known, and many others that are unknown to the world.
Some of these customs still exist in the remote parts of the continent, many years after civilization. These ethnic communities practice certain traditions that will leave you shocked.
Here are five tribes from across Africa with mouth dropping customs.
Banyankole’s ‘potency test’
In many African cultures, an aunt plays many roles among them being advising young nieces as they get through life stages including adolescence and marriage.
In Uganda, one’s aunt is not only used to advise a new bride but they also have to have sex with the groom as a ‘potency test’. Additionally, the aunt has to test the brides ‘purity’ before the bride and groom are allowed to consummate their marriage.
In Africa, it is a significant matter that men should have the capacity to sexually please his spouse(s) and the Banyankole tribe have a unique way of doing this.
For a newly married groom, the bride’s aunt would help the bride to find out the potency and purity of the new husband by having sex with him. This is before the bride and groom are allowed to consummate their marriage.
Another tradition asides the above is for the aunts to listen or watch as the couple engages in their sexual engagement.
The Wodaabe’s wife stealing night dance
The Wodaabe ethnic group can be found in the northern parts of Nigeria, northeastern Cameroon, the western region of Central Africa Republic and southwestern Chad. It’s a subgroup of the Fulani ethnic group.
In their customary festivity, members of the community go dancing at night. There is nothing strange with the dance, but one thing is for sure, the whole night is not all about dancing. In the stillness of the night, men are also allowed to steal women from their tribe. It doesn’t matter if the woman is married or not, the man is allowed to keep her unless the woman refuses or her husband catches the man in the process of stealing the woman.
Wife stealing is a practice among the Wodaabe tribe of Niger, West Africa. The custom allows women to choose from among men other than her husband for sexual activities, as the women are stated to have the sexual power.
During a seven-day ceremony that usually holds in the community, the women choose from among men for her sexual satisfaction. Men would conceal their identity by wearing heavy makeup and use of peacock feathers, and strut their stuff to attract female.
The women watch on and tap a man on the shoulder, that means she likes what she sees and if the man likes her back, he can steal her from her husband for this stated period.
Chewa’s festival of the dead
The Chewa community is a Bantu tribe mostly found in Malawi. This group is known for its secretive society known as Nyau, and for covering their faces in masks. The community is also known for their agricultural practices.
During the burial ceremony of a tribe member, it is customary for the body of the deceased to be washed. To wash the corpse, the body is taken to a sacred place where the cleansing is done by slitting the throat and pouring water through the insides of the dead. The water is squeezed out of the body until it comes out clean. Then comes the bizarre part of the practice. The water is collected and used to prepare a meal for the whole community.
Bull jumping in Ethiopia
In the African culture, young boys have to undergo some form of ritual to prove their manhood. In Ethiopia, 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 of animals pulled by the tail and horns by older men. The practice is known as Hamar.
Female friends of the ‘warrior’ to be are made to cover their whole body, head, and hair with ochre mixed with fat, then, they have to dance and get lashed by elders until they are sore in the name of loyalty to their friend.
A young boy would have to be naked, and then jump over the back of many bulls arranged in a straight and closely-knit by their tail and horns by older men.
Also, the female friends of the new adult would have to receive lashes from elder in a show of loyalty to the new adult.
Sharo beating to earn a wife and respect
In the Fulani community of Benin, men who are ready to start a family are not as lucky, especially if the bride side picks Sharo as the requirement for the marriage to sail through.
Sharo involves flogging. The groom is beaten by the older members of the community so as to earn a wife and respect. If the man is not strong enough to bare the pain, the wedding is called off. Many young people from this tribe have succumbed to the flogging, accounting for why this is not a compulsory practice.
Other than flogging, the bride 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.