4 traditional reasons African women are not allowed to drum

Elizabeth Ofosuah Johnson November 16, 2018

Menstrual Cycle

In many African cultures, a woman’s menstrual cycle is a time when she is seen as unclean. In several ancient African societies, especially in West and Eastern Africa, women were isolated during their time of the month and were not allowed to cook for their husbands. In their absence, food was always prepared by other wives or older children. For the same reason of uncleanliness, women were not allowed to go near drums or even play them, especially during traditional rites. It is believed that their menstrual cycle disempowered the drums, was disrespectful to the gods and did not allow them the proper state of mind to play. Since a woman’s menstruation was not to be of public knowledge, it was better to ban women from playing the drums altogether and have men, who were always available to play them.

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