What Are Some African Cultural Traditions?


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Africa is a huge continent with a corresponding diversity of peoples and cultures. In Ghana, the Ashanti tribe are animists who revere a mysterious golden stool. The Maasai of Kenya are warriors who measure their wealth in cattle. In Gabon, the Fang are guarded by the bones of their ancestors.

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An Ashanti child is said to receive his soul from his father, but it is the mother that gives him flesh. Consequently, the Ashanti people place great value on their matrilineal connections. Polygamy is occasionally practiced, but it is not the rule and women do not marry without the approval of their parents.

Maasai women marry men much older than they are. After receiving her father's blessing, she walks with her new husband to his house. If she looks back, she is said to turn to stone. Afterwards, a party called kupamba takes place, at which the bride and her female guests unveil themselves and make a great show of their finery.

The Fang have always been warlike. Long ago they drove others out of the place where they live now. Their aggressive nature even today instills fear in their neighbors. Only a few centuries ago, the Fang were cannibals and proud of it. These days subsistence farming is their practice, but in the jungles of Gabon, even this requires violence in the form of the slash-and-burn land clearance.

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