Many of us have a bucket list with countries, they would love to explore, outside home. If you are wondering what those countries are packed with, then this is the right place to be! A new series titled Touring the world is cooking with great and fascinating foods! And we are all invited to read and engage!
If you have a topic in mind, DM me @20sdoses IG account. You can also share your views on the foods(questions) posted in the series.
Shout out to y’all following and contributing to the stories👏👏👏
Jambo! Oli otya! Molo! Amosi! Sawubona! Olee! Muraho! Moni! Niatia! Lumela! Bonjour! Tadiyass! See tahay! Olá! As-Salaam-Alaikum! Don’t freak out! Still in the right place! These are just greetings in Africa! Now, imagine the diverse cultures in it!
Mother Africa is home to many tribes, hence myriad cultures! African culture is expressed in arts, crafts, religion, clothing, cuisine, music, and language. Cultures define largely who we are and where we belong. We will probably never know all cultures, but we can catch a glimpse through this article!
I’ve got one heck of a ride for you! Buckle up and let’s take this tour, shall we?
Courtship dance of Woodabe.
Ever heard of a male beauty contest? If no, I’ll spill interesting tea for you!
The end of the rainy season in Northern Niger, sees the Woodabe people gather for Cure Salée, ‘Festival of Nomads’. At the heart of the festival is Gerewol, an annual courtship ritual and a male beauty contest.
Young men wear makeup, jewellery, and their finest clothes, and stand in lines to sing and dance. Why? To grab attention of one of the marriageable, female onlookers.
The jackpot is white teeth and white eyes, hence participants roll their eyes and grin broadly to show off. It’s flirtation at its best, with hope of winning a night of passion. This ritual is also a foreign tourist attraction!
Lip plates of Mursi.
Mursi women of Ethiopia, are famous for wooden lip plates – a symbol of beauty and identity.
When a girl reaches 15 or 16 years, her lower lip is cut by her mother or another kinswoman. The cut is held open by a wooden plug, for about 3 months while it heals.
This practice is not forced, hence girls can decide whether or not to wear a lip plate. But of course, 16 is the prime for peer pressure, hence many opt for it.
Just like me at first, I know most of you are wondering how they eat! Well, they do eat😂😂😂They don’t wear lip plates always, and this gives them a chance to eat. The stretched lip hangs down, sometimes even under the chin.
Did you know that the maasai are among the most famous internationally? Why? Because of their distinct traditions, tribal dress, and residence near national game parks.
These traditions include:
The colorful maasai shuka and body ornamentation.
The shuka is a woven, thick cotton blanket, usually red with striped or checked pattern in blue or black. Red symbolizes the color believed to scare away lions from a distance. This signature garment has been widely emulated by modern fashion designers including Louis Vuitton.
Jewellery is created with beads and a metal wire. Men wear wrist or ankle bracelets, sometimes belts and necklaces. On the other hand, women feature an explosion of color through their several bracelets and big flat bead decorated collars. High end jewellery designers have also emulated them.
The jumping dance:Adamu.
It is performed as part of initiation when young boys become men. It is accompanied by songs, and pairs of men taking turns to see who jumps highest. The highest jumper attracts the best bride.
It is viewed as a form of blessing and a sign of respect. It is used to greet or say goodbye to a friend. Two friends greeting each other will spit in their palms before shaking hands. A baby is spat on by family members, to wish it long life and good luck. A daughter getting married, is spat on her forehead by her father to wish her a blessed union.
Drinking of blood
It can be cooked, raw, or mixed with milk. Blood is obtained by nicking the jugular artery of a cow precisely, allowing for blood letting that doesn’t kill the animal.
Mixed blood and milk is used as a ritual drink in special celebrations or given to the sick.
Red ochre of the Himba.
Did you know that just as women slap on mascara, lipstick,or foundation – name your makeup – the Himba women of Namibia apply red paste every morning?
This homemade paste is made of butter, fat, and red ochre and is known as otjize. Girls start using otjize as soon as they are old enough to care for their hygiene. Not only is otjize applied to beautify, but also to protect the skin from harsh sun and insect bites.
Besides that, they have elaborate red tinged hair styles ranging from braids to plaits facing forwards and backwards.
It’s no wonder, that they’ve become an iconic image for Africa, and a striking image for photographers! They are also known as the‘ Red people of Africa’.
Greetings of Yoruba.
One of the largest ethnic group in Nigeria, Yoruba, has more twins than any people in the world! If you want twins…
Anyway our focus today, is on the greeting rituals in regards to greeting elders. When an adult approaches, youths are expected to drop to their knees in greeting. More precisely, women kneel and men lie prostrate.
These gestures are a sign of respect for elders and are specific to Yoruba people only.
In the Hamer community of Omo valley, the only thing standing between a young boy and him becoming a man, is a rather athletic ritual involving bull jumping. The initiate crosses over 15 castrated bulls that have dung rubbed on their backs to make them slippery.
It can’t get harder than this, right? Wrong! Why? Because failure to successfully cross the bulls, results in the initiate waiting till the next year. But if he succeeds, he is set to marry, have children,and cattle.
Healing Dance of the San.
In the spirit of dancing…
You know how we go to a doctor when ill, well meet the San people who have a healing dance to drive out illnesses.
This dance is the most important of all; it is compared to a prayer addressed to the spirits of ancestors and the gods. It lasts for hours, if not all night.
A big fire is lit and women together with children, sit around the fire singing and beating their hands at the rhythm of the music. The men dance around the women wearing anklets which,at each step produce rhythmic sounds.
It continues till a trance is induced, which allows for communion with the spirits, and for healers to cure sickness within the dancers.
Samburu of Umoja.
Moving on to closely related to maasai people, we have Samburu people. They are known for their traditionalistic lifestyle,that largely remains uninfluenced by western culture.
Umoja, also known as the village without men, was found by Rebecca Lolosoli specifically for women. Samburu women are often a target for FGM, rape, and domestic violence. Instead of tolerating that, women flee to Umoja where they get help and live as they please.
Men can visit but they can’t sleep over. Only boys raised in the village can stay. In case, you want to take a tour to Umoja, they do have a campsite and they create jewellery for sale.
The wedding ceremony of Ndebele.
Weddings are all about the bride -the center of attention. And the Ndebele are not left out! They have a wedding tradition that is an explosion of color! This is largely, thanks to the bride’s mother-in-law!
Why? Because she specially creates an apron made of goat skin, decorated with colorful beads for the bride. It is called a Jocolo. All married women at the wedding ceremony also wear a Jocolo.
On the wedding day, the groom performs a ceremony in honor of his new wife, thanking her for everything she’s done for him in their time together.
Our African culture tour is coming to an end! I hope you’ve learnt a few things as well as appreciated the diversity of cultures in all parts of Africa.
What stood out for me was the lip plates of the Mursi. Why? Because I was worried about how they are going to eat😂😂 But I feel relieved that all of us get to know how they do eat.
What stood out for you? And why?Also, which cultures would you add to the list? Finally, what would you want to see improved either in the blog or IG account? Feel free to leave all the responses in the comment section!
Again, shout out to y’all reading and engaging! You make a big difference! Share, share, share with friends! Remember sharing is caring 😊
Have a productive day and week ahead!