- Abducting your bride
In the Sudanese Latuka tribe, when a man wants to marry a woman, he kidnaps her. Elderly members of his family go and ask the girl’s father for her hand in marriage, and if dad agrees, he beats the suitor as a sign of his acceptance of the union. If the father disagrees, however, the man might forcefully marry the woman anyway.
- Price on the bride
Lobola is an ancient and controversial Southern African tradition in which the families of a bride and groom negotiate how much the groom must pay for the bride. All negotiations must be done in writing — never by phone or in person. The two families cannot even speak until negotiations are complete.
- Spitting your blessings
Members of the Maasai tribe in Kenya and Tanzania spit as a way of blessing. Men spit on new-borns and say they are bad in the belief that if they praise a baby, it will be cursed. Maasai warriors will also spit in their hands before shaking the hand of an elder.
- Bull jumping
In order to prove their manhood in the Ethiopian Hamer tribe, young boys must run, jump and land on the back of a bull before then attempting to run across the backs of several bulls. They do this multiple times, and usually in the nude.
- Women have their own houses
In the Gio tribe in Ivory Coast, each wife has her own small house that she lives in with her children until they are old enough to move out. The children never live with their fathers.
- Sons are raised by their uncles
When male children reach age 5 or 6 in the Northern Angolan Songo tribe, they are sent to live with their uncles on their mother’s side. This is because chiefs inherit their position through matrilineal lines.
- Living with animals
The Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania have strict policies against killing wild animals. They keep cattle and livestock, but leave wild animals untouched. In fact, each clan is associated with a specific wild species, which they often keep close to them and treat as a clan member.
- Red sun block
The Himba people of Northern Namibia cover their skin with a mixture of butter fat and ochre — a natural earth pigment containing iron oxide — to protect themselves from the sun. For that reason, the Himba people often appear to have a red skin tone.
- Whipping the suitor
The Fulani tribe live in many countries in West Africa and follow a tradition called Sharo. Sharo happens when two young men want to marry the same woman. To compete for her hand in marriage, they beat one another up. The men must suppress signs of pain and the one who takes the beating without showing signs of pain can take the wife.
- A comprehensive cleansing
The Chewa people are one of the largest indigenous groups of Malawi but live throughout Central and Southern Africa. When a person dies, one family tradition involves taking the body into the woods, cutting the throat, and forcing water through the body to cleanse it. They do this by pressing the corpse’s stomach until what comes out the rear end runs clear.
Author: Gesture Chidhanguro