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7 bizarre African customs you had no idea existed

1) Spitting as a form of greeting

Members of the Masai tribe in Kenya and Tanzania spit on their hands before exchanging handshakes to show respect to their elders. They also spit on newborns and accuse them to be bad as a way to ward off evil spirits. Fascinating, isn’t it?

2) Female circumcision

While we are all familiar with male circumcision, in some parts of Africa women are also circumcised! Female genital mutilation tops the list of the most bizarre rituals on the face of the earth. Midwives and “trained” circumcisionists do these mass circumcisions from village to village using unsterile knives, razors and scissors. In some cultures it is believed to preserve a girl’s chastity and to make her desirable to a potential marriage partner alongside pulling of the labia minora.

3) Sex rituals

This one probably needs a post on its own, i ought to revisit it later because there is plenty things to be said. For instance how the Baganda indulge in sex rituals in order to mark the entry of a person into adulthood whereby young men can have sex with several girls. In some societies the family waits outside when the man is having sex for the first time with his wife and demand to see blood stains on the sheets as proof that she was truly a virgin. Then the Woodabe tribe of Niger which is famous for swaping wives and is it is often rumoured that ancient Egyptian Pharoahs used to practice public masturbation. Yes you read that right, they reportedly ritually masturbated in the Nile to ensure abundance of water. Other unnamed cultures require young men to drink the semen of elders to sustain growth and strength.

4) Festival of the dead

This one is practiced by the Chewa tribe of Malawi, who are mostly known for their secret clique called the Nyau who go about in face masks covered in mud and animal blood. When a tribe member dies, it is customary for the deceased to be taken to a sacred place to be washed by slitting the throat and cleaning the insides. This is done until clean water is coming out of the body and this water is -wait for it- used to cook meals at the funeral!!

5) Voodoo and gris-gris

This is the belief of multiple gods and spiritual possessions to convey magical protection. Basically black magic. Voodoo rituals are often used as love spells, death spells and money spells and is often associated with witchcraft mainly in the Western African region.

6) Lip stretching

When a girl becomes a teenager in the Suma tribe of Southern Sudan, she begins the process of stretching her lips to make herself more desirable. The girl has her bottom teeth removed to make space for a plate to be put which is annually changed to a bigger size

7) Bull jumping in Ethiopia

In the Hamar tribe in the Omo valley a man has to pass this bull jumping ceremony before even thinking about getting married. Before the ceremony the women from the jumpers family are whipped until they bleed to show support of their contestant. The Surma and Suri men also have to fight each other to death in order to win a woman
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