4 traditional reasons African women are not allowed to drum

Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson November 16, 2018

Drumming is an important aspect of African culture etched deeply in many traditional practices. There are only a few African cultures that do not have drumming as an integral part of their many social activities. From the summoning of ancestral spirits to entertainment, drumming and its language have been identified as the basis of many African societies.

Due to its significance, drums are one of the most sacred instruments in Africa. They are carefully made with sacred wood and blessed before used for their specific reason. There is hardly any drum that has different functions and this is a reason drums are named according to size and function.

Due to their cultural significance in Africa, the art of drumming has been for many years mastered by men and only a few societies allow women to play drums. Even in societies that allow women to take part in drumming, they are not allowed to take up drum playing during specific ceremonies and it is a taboo for women to go near and play specific scared drums.

In modern times, women are changing gender roles and expectations, and are doing so by breaking the taboo of drum playing in their cultural settings. While this seems to be making an impact, many societies are working hard at keeping to centuries-old customs that prevent women from drumming. Just last year, the Burundian government issued a directive prohibiting women from playing the drums in a bid to safeguard the purity of the internationally-recognized age-old practice.

While women continue to fight for equality in all settings, here are 4 shocking reasons why women are not allowed to play the drums in the majority of African societies.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: November 16, 2018


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