Back in 2012 when Davis Kizza Kana was interviewed by a Ugandan media, he had 32 piercings on his body. Today, the dancer, model and fitness instructor, otherwise known as Rasta Kana, has 83 piercings, making him the most pierced man in Uganda. He has 10 piercings on his nose, 14 on his eyebrows, 20 on each ear and 10 around his lips.
There are also two in his tongue, one in his genital area, four on the mouth, on the chin and on the neck.
“I have not pierced my checks, forehead and head because I don’t want to lose the dreadlocks that I have kept for 14 years,” said the Rastafarian, who has had dreadlocks for 15 years now.
Kana started piercing his body in 2000 by having his ear lobes and nose pierced. “Every hole has its own story and represents both good and bad memories. Whenever something happens in my life, I get a piercing to mark that particular event. For example, the piercing on my left eyebrow reminds me of the time I broke up with my girlfriend, after six years and 10 months,” he told The Observer in 2012.
“The piercings are not just about the moments but also about celebrating my independence from my strict family that brought us up on a strict Islamic foundation.”
When he chose this unique style, his parents didn’t criticize him or stop him, he said.
“To discover oneself takes a while because of the restrictions brought about by family or religious ties. However, people will accept the way you are with time and may even come to know you as a good, helpful and positive person. Just because of your creativity or lifestyle, you are still the same person inside.”
“Body piercing means everything to me. I saw the advantage of combining body piercing with the Rastafari belief, dreadlocks and body building. It is the best thing in my life and has made me happy,” Kana said.
Working at Azimarino Fitness Gym and Cybex Fitness Club, Kana said some people have come to accept his uniqueness even though others feel its madness.
“I have been physically attacked and verbally assaulted. Some have called me evil, illuminati, and even used derogatory terms for a homosexual. But I can handle these being a fitness trainer. Mostly, I ignore the attacks, avoid such people and deny them the attention they seek.”
Kana, who has no plans of changing his trademark, said silver is his favorite jewelry. “I prefer silver because it is the best on my skin from my experience. It is easy to clean and replace — but expensive.”
Since time immemorial, Africans have been sticking pieces of metals through their skin. Both men and women have been piercing various parts of their bodies, including the ears, tongue, nose, lips, among others. In ancient African civilizations, piercings had many cultural meanings apart from being a form of body modification.
Navel piercings were known to be reserved for the Pharaoh only in ancient Egypt. Nose piercing, which is still a common practice among the Berber and Bedouin people of North Africa and the Middle East, determines the wealth of a family.
Pierced nipples were also believed to be the best nipples among some cultures. In the mountains of Algeria, nipple piercing is still practiced among the women of the Nomadic Kabyle tribe. The unique art of lip piercing and stretching is still prevalent in Africa among the Mursi people in Ethiopia who have plates infused to their piercings mostly for aesthetics.
Currently, people get piercings for various reasons such as aesthetic appeal, self-expression and sexual pleasure, with the world’s most pierced man being Rolf Buchholz, from Dortmund, Germany, who has 480 piercings.