Saturday, 11 July 2020

10 Weird Cultural Practices Done In Kenya Today

With about 42 ethnic tribes in Kenya, Kenya is a multicultural country. Each ethnic group has its own cultures and traditions. As time goes by, many communities have shed off some of the irrelevant and punitive traditions and cultures but others have resolutely clinched on to their traditions and remained culturally authentic ethnic tribes of Kenya. Some communities have shocking cultures  that have  been declared illegal by law because of either their harm to life or just go against the law.

Here are some of the weird cultures practiced in Kenya up to date:

1. Wife Inheritance
This is still being practiced in some native villages in the western parts of Kenya, especially the Luo community. It is weird but if your husband dies, you are “taken up” by your husband’s brothers to ensure the clan is tightly bonded. This is now being practised in a lows key and that is why many people do not talk about it anymore nowadays.

2. Weird Burial Positions
Some people in the Teso community burry their dead in an abnormal way  that we are not used to. If you are a visitor, you may be shocked by the way they do it. Their dead is buried sideways with their hands on the cheeks.

3. Female Genital Mutilation
This is illegal in Kenya and people caught “circumcising” women face up to 5 years in jail or a hefty fine. Some communities like the Kisii have been doing this for a long time now, though it has drastically reduced due to government intervention, some still do it in deeply remote areas.

4.Traditional Circumcision Ceremonies
If you are shocked, this still happens in 2017. Especially among the Luhya and Bukusu, young boys who are to undergo the ‘rite of passage’ are stripped naked, their whole bodies smeared with some special ceremonial soil and then wrapped in a leso. And in the biting cold of the morning, they are taken to face the cut.

A red hot knife was used previously to cut the foreskin for everybody but nowadays they use sterilized hospital scalpels, one for each or a knife if it has to be used. After that the circumcised have to stay in the forest until they fully heal.

5. Vibrant Burials Ceremonies
Some burials are sort of celebratory. When somebody dies, say somebody prominent in Luo Nyanza, bulls are slaughtered, mourners are hired, people dance like they are under a demon seizure and they eat like they are not going to see the sunlight again. At night too, they organize for a special funeral dance or vigil dance called “Disco Matanga” where those keeping vigil dance the whole night, drink, eat and do all sorts of stuff just like in a disco.

6. Summoning Spirits To Solve Family Issues
I am told of a family In Kisii that had an issue about the splitting of family land equally among three sons after their father died without doing that. After failed intervention by the law and religion, and the brothers were almost killing each other, elders sat down and summoned the dead father to intervene, then lightning struck on a clear sunny day and ploughed through the large piece of land in an orderly way and the case was solved.

7. Cleansing Of The Bewitched
Once somebody has been bewitched, elders usually gather and demand for some things like ‘waganga’, Some white goat, a red hen and some funny things according to the culture. They then do exorcism and incantations, then eat the goat and hens they asked one to come with. After that they spit on the bewitched procedurally and pronounce him/her cleansed, weird huh?

8. Dangerous Rites of Passage
Among the Maasai, the  title Moran doesn’t just
come easily. The struggle for one to earn respect among his peers by being called a Moran requires one to go hunting for a lion with a mere spear. One can get killed in the process or kill it, it is a survival for the fittest duel.

9. Weird Beverages
This is significant among the Samburu and the Maasai until now. They drink fresh blood oozing from a live animal and they go further to mix it with some unboiled fresh milk to make it kind of a cocktail.

10. Traditional Healers/Magicians Craze
After failing to resolve something amicably, or after  getting sick, some people can not just go to the clinic or seek religious intervention, they better visit this healers or magicians who have their working bases in remote and weird places or even caves, and are asked for funny things like green hens, claws of eagles, eggs of crocodiles and snakes and a small fee which they religiously look for even though others are not brought because they are just not there!

•By John Nyabuto

•culled from

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