Rituals are part and parcel of the African culture. They are symbolic of different aspects in life. Some may signify achieving a new social status; others signify moving into a new age group, while some welcome a new visitor or a newborn to the community. Well, here is a list of the 10 most dangerous rituals of African culture that has certainly brought a whole new meaning to the term ritual.
1. Maasai Moran
The Maasai is one of the communities in Kenya, in order to be respected and acknowledged as a man, you first have to attain the title “Moran.” To do so, a young man is expected to go out in the jungle and hunt down a lion. This feat can only be accomplished by using a spear and not the fancy gun.
2. Wife Inheritance
Many African communities still practice wife inheritance. The brother to a dead person is allowed to inherit his sister-in-law. This is done as a way of ensuring the clans remain tightly bonded. Unfortunately, this has contributed to the spread of HIV/AID, as well as disregard to human rights.
3. Sooth Saying-Puff Adder In mouth
In the Zulu community in South Africa, a traditional healer locally known as a “Sangoma” relies on his trusty puff-adder to make predictions as well as heal. He may at some point place it in his mouth or near the person seeking healing. In case his faithful serpent has a change of heart, no one would wish to imagine what would happen.
4. Blood-Water Beverage
The Maasai and Samburu communities in Kenya and Tanzania are amongst the most hospitable communities. They always look forward to receiving any visitor. Apart from offering you roasted meat, you may be required to drink fresh blood oozing from a live animal or mixed with some milk.
5. African Bull Fighting
Bullfighting is more famous in countries like Spain and Mexico more than it is in Africa. Unknown to many people, African communities have always followed this practice. Unlike their western counterparts, there is no security provided. Many people have died or been maimed during the ceremony. The ritual is popular among the Luhya tribe in Kenya.
6. Ritual Killing
Ritual killings have always been performed in African cultures. This may be under the direction of a king or soothsayer. To date some communities still follow this practice. They will target a specific tribe or a unique person. For instance, in Tanzania, Albinos locally known as “zeruzeru” are captured and killed as a way of seeking material wealth.
7. Traditional healing
Traditional healers and medicine men hold a special place in many African cultures. People will opt to seek medicinal and divine intervention from them rather than from a clinic, dispensary, church, or hospital. When visiting one, a person may be asked to come back with eggs of a snake, or crocodile. Some will even ask for the fangs, claws or teeth of a dangerous creature.
8. Ritual Sex Practices
The Baganda form one of the largest ethnic communities in Uganda. Among their many rituals, there is one that is classified as quite risky especially in the modern world. Occasionally, the community will hold dances and rituals to mark entry into adulthood. Young men are allowed to engage in penetrative sex with different girls. This has been a leading cause of the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region.
9. Male Circumcision
Like many regions in the world, Africans also practice male circumcision. This ceremony is normally done to signify a boy becoming a mature adult. Usually, the young boys will be circumcised with a knife without application of any anesthetic. Furthermore, the newly circumcised spends time out in the forest to test his courage.
10. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Women also get circumcised in some cultures in Africa. Unlike the male procedure where it is the foreskin that is chopped off, FGM is a bit inhumane. It may entail clipping the clitoris and much more. Cases of girls bleeding to death or permanent damage have always been witnessed. This is why the practice has been banned in most parts of Africa.