6 African tribes with 6 incredible traditions Rarely Spoken

  • Africa remains a landmine of rich cultures and traditions yet to be explored.
  • A lot of tribes in Africa showcase their uniqueness through the cultures and traditions they possess.
6 African tribes with 6 incredible traditions
Photo by Sergey Pesterev on Unsplash

If you have lived through your whole life outside Africa and only know it through the media. A politically or economically-driven agenda might blind you from the sight of cultural traditions that never fail to keep the inner souls young. Africa is not a lump of tribes put together but a gallery of cultures that define humanity’s hidden dimensions. Its traditions, languages, and cultures define a unique set of societal pride rooted in native history. Let us consider some 6 African tribes with 6 incredible traditions that will change your view of this historical landmine.

1. Wodaabe, Gerewol

6 African tribes with 6 incredible traditions
Photo by Meet the Wadaabe people of Niger on Facebook

The Lake Chad of Northern Niger welcomes the sunset of the region’s rainy season through its Wodaabe people. A ceremony called Cure Salee gets green light in return. It translates to the Festive of Nomads. Gerewol tradition intertwines with this celebration. It entails a courtship ritual merged with a male beauty contest. A portion of the traditional herdsmen represents the young men participating in the ceremony. They present themselves with their most beautiful traditional clothing, jewelry, and wear full makeup. Female onlookers then match forward to inspect the young men in line. High praise is on white eyes and white teeth. Thus it is up to the participants to produce an award-winning grin to attract attention. The winner of this flirtation en mass would have to captivate the heart of one of the judges for a probable night of passion.

2. Mursi, Lip Plate

6 African tribes with 6 incredible traditions
Photo by Laban Thuo on Facebook

Ethiopia’s Omo Valley is home to the Mursi Women near Jinka that are prone to wear dhebi a tugion, a circular lip plate. Dr. Jerome Lewis, an anthropologist from the University College of London, remarks the lip plates as historical artifacts. He places them on an ancient map that dates them 3000 years back. It acts as a body modification to narrate an appeal of beauty. It is a mark this African tribe used to distinguish the women of its tribe from the outsiders.

3. Himba, Otjize

6 African tribes with 6 incredible traditions
Photo by Tribal of Africa & Amazon World on Facebook

Of the 6 African tribes with 6 incredible traditions, North Namibia’s Himba tribe has its women on top of a unique cultural heritage. Fame befriends their unique reddish hair and complexion. A paste of red ocher, fat, and butter called Otjize is the reason behind their unique outlook. Its daily application on both the skin and hair does the trick. Some historic documents speculate Otjize as an old means of warding off insects and a skin protector from sunburns. The women of the tribe, however, boldly proclaim its use for aesthetic purposes alone as the Himba men do not apply it.

4. Hamar, Bull Jumping

6 African tribes with 6 incredible traditions
Photo by Happy Africans on Facebook

The Omo Valley of Ethiopia transforms herdsmen into hurdlers. The Hamar tribe puts its young men to the test of manhood by challenging them to jump on prized bulls and to run across their backs subsequently. This event unfolds as the young participants are naked. The success indicator of the challenge is to run across the bull four times before qualifying as a viable bachelor ready for marriage. Failure is thus a bad reputation for an individual’s manhood and might affect how the rest of the community views them onward.

5. Xhosa, Ulwaluko

Photo by Face2Face Africa on Facebook

South Africa’s Eastern Cape is the home to young Xhosa men that participate in the Ulwaluko age initiation ceremony. The abakhwetha or youths participate in an anesthetic-free circumcision. They afterward spent some time in the bush away from the village. A blanket wrap is the only clothing they wear and have to survive with minimal supplies at hand. Their faces have coatings of white clay. These initiates learn to live in the bushes for two months on a specially designed structure by the village elders while learning to fend for themselves. The end of their exile welcomes men back home and not the boys they previously saw. They receive new blankets and new statuses in society. However, a lot of criticism falls on this practice due to health concerns surrounding the circumcision process’ complications and malpractice.            

6. Chewa, Matriarchy

Photo by Travel Malawi Guide on Facebook

The Malawi Chewa tribe women may be victims of downplaying by the egocentric male profiles of the society, but they do have the upper hand on one key aspect, inheritance. Inheritance of property is in the female line giving them more societal power. However, the male still maintains the apex of power as a way of showcasing their dominance.

The 6 African tribes with 6 incredible traditions are just an appetizer towards a gold mine of eye-glazing and jaw-dropping cultures yet to receive a highlight in the world media. Thus having a taste of the cherry at the top should give you more thirst and hunger to navigate through this politically biased but socially and culturally blessed continent.

About Dennis Juma

I'm a professional Pen-Star that fuels his written content from the current, exciting, old-yet-exotic, and humor-filled world of politics, entertainment, health, history, and technology.

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