2018 in Review December 23, 2018 at 09:00 am

Culture stories of 2018 that aroused controversies

Nduta Waweru December 23, 2018 at 09:00 am

December 23, 2018 at 09:00 am | 2018 in Review

Well, 2018 has offered us a melting pot of cultures, from spiritual rituals from African tribes to wedding traditions in African American communities.

Some of these stories made an impression because of their content, which many readers thought to be controversial. We would like to remind you of these stories.

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For the Banyankole people in Southwestern Uganda, the primary responsibility of the aunt was to confirm that the groom is potent and that the bride has defended her virginity before the marriage is consummated. As a potency test for the groom, the aunt was sometimes required to have sex with the groom for confirmation of his potency and virility.

Voodoo is one of the most popular religions still practised today in countries like Benin, Togo, Ghana and Nigeria and the African diaspora including Haiti, The Dominican Republic, Cuba, Brazil and America consider voodoo part of their spiritual existence. Although the religion has been receiving bad press internationally, there are some reasons for Africans to consider a return to it. 

In the Kamba community, it was a traditional custom for women to marry men who had long passed. So what was the process for securing a wife for a dead man?

Did you know that Africa has some of the oldest secret societies that have been alleged to have played a significant role in the continent’s economic, political, and law enforcement? 

The Ngondo festival, which is a water-centred festival by the Sawa, that is, coastal peoples in Douala, Cameroon, was held annually until 1981 when it was banned by authorities due to some of its sacred rituals, especially the ceremony honouring the Jengu (the water spirit and deity worshipped by the Sawa).

One of the most intriguing body modification practices was the teeth sharpening ritual that prevailed in parts of Africa, particularly, central Africa, eastern and southern Africa in the early 18th century

The Hamar tribe re said to be abreast with everything happening around the world, even with football, but that has not stopped them from practising a rather bizarre culture of women proudly accepting beatings as part of an initiation ceremony for men.


Critics have, however, been wondering how and why a teenager should be sold for marriage on a big platform like Facebook as women lawyers from South Sudan have asked the government to investigate, describing the auction exercise as a form of commoditization of women.

Before the institution of mainstream legal systems, Africans had long enacted their own ways of decreeing justice and safeguarding the well-being of people in their tribe and neighbourhood. One of these ways was the use of black magic.

In the Okujepusa Omukazenda tradition, a husband offers his wife to a male visitor, allowing him to spend the night in his house. The controversial tradition has come under scrutiny by women rights group even though some citizens see nothing wrong with it. 

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