6 African Tribes and their Horrifying Practices

We live in a time where people treat their ancestors with absolute disregard or disrespect. We despise their traditions and rituals. We find everything they introduced bizarre or horrifying. And those who still follow their beliefs or perform some of their rituals are disparaged by the urban class and tagged uncivilized or downright savages. But the truth remains that all these practices despite how funny or scary they look once served some purposes. They made great warriors out of average men. They groomed loyal wives and respectful children. They determined great leaders and at the same time, formed a basis of whom we are right now. And that’s why I won’t hesitate to call for a round of accolade to those who still revere our ancestors and are not ashamed of their own culture. In fact, if you thought that all these practices were long blown by the wind, here are 6 African tribes and their horrifying practices (according to you), that is willing to soil their image, but make our ancestors proud:


1. The Maasai in Kenya and Tanzania — Female Genital Mutilation

For a very long time, the Maasai have been circumcising their women just to prevent them from engaging in sex until they are married. This practice, as justified by some of the Maasai elders, is very important in the Maasai culture as it helps in controlling women libido. As a result, a Maasai woman will always refrain from sexual fantasizes until she is ready for marriage. The shocking part is that a woman genitalia will be cut off using a sharp object, and she should bear the pain without any form of anesthesia.

2. The Suri and the Surma tribes in Ethiopia — Men fighting to impress a lady for marriage

While you can easily meet a girl online and ask her to marry you, the Suri and Surma men have to fight and win so that they can get a woman to marry. According to one particular Suri elder, a Suri man must perform a ritual that involves covering his body and face with clay, and then walk naked while carrying an 8 feet pole; this ceremony is generally referred to as Donga by the natives of this land. After that, he will be required to engage other single men in a fight as a large number of unmarried Surma women watch and patiently wait to choose the winners as their husbands.


3. Hamer tribe in South-western Ethiopia – Women bull jumping

This may be seen as a difficult thing to happen in the current world, but to Hamer women from South-western Ethiopia, it’s more like a normal phase of life. The worst part is that before you can be allowed to engage in this bull jumping ritual, you’ll first have to go through a series of whipping on both the back and buttocks until there are some scars that will signify that you’ve already gone through the ritual and you’re now a grown woman who is very ready for marriage. A Hammerman, on the other hand, can marry up to four women and in case he dies, then all his properties will be equally distributed among the wives but not the children.

bull jumping

4. The Zulu tribes in South Africa — circumcision rites

Zulu teenage boys have to undergo a bizarre circumcision rite to become men. Normally in Zulu, these boys will be abducted and then taken to a secret place that can only be accessed by elderly women who bring them food and drinks. They are then covered in white dust before being allowed to use sharp blades or rocks to circumcise themselves. As a result, most of them generally end up having disfigured genitals; and some even die during the process. The wounds are normally treated and dressed using mad or animal waste and may take up-to four months before these boys are completely healed.

5. The Hausa tribes in Nigeria — Bloody boxing

The Saharan Hausa people have their own traditional boxing practice that they call Dambe. This sport, though considered illegal, is still practiced by some people and it generally involves using feet, head, and fist to hit an opponent. They also use a Dambe Karfe ( a hand-held punching) or a mazagi (a fist layer with protruding pieces of glasses) to pound on their enemies. Even though it may seem like a dangerous game, some Hausa people still enjoy this sport and will even pay to watch or participate in it.

6. The Pokot tribes in Kenya and Uganda — Cattle Rustling

The Pokot tribes in Kenya and Uganda are commonly known for their perfect nomadic life. They will move from place to place in search of water and pastures for their cattle, and some will even move around for several days. This might seem quite normal to lots of people, but their habit of killing each other just to steal cattle is what should be considered uncivilized. Contrary to what most people think, a Pokot will at any time find this practice to be perfectly normal, and he would not hesitate to kill a person from another tribe once he notices that the person has a large herd of cattle.

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