10 African Traditions and Cultures that should be abolished | Day 19/30

Mursi Woman traditional lip plate
This entry is part 19 of 30 in the series 2019 BLOG CHALLENGE

We are still rich in culture and surrounded by traditions we could live by, adopt, or learn from, especially those time-tested to work, that promote good values, freedoms, mutual respect, and peace. There is also a need to reconcile traditions with evolving societies, as Former US President Obama once offered in the same breath. The need to abolish certain outmoded cultural practices in your country.

Mwacha mila ni mtumwa, a Swahili saying loosely translated to mean he who abandons his traditions is a slave, has been one of the tactics used to scare a people, especially women, into submission and ridicule even when the said cultures were outdated, served no purpose or were detrimental in many ways.

10 outmoded cultural practices

It’s insane to think most discriminative traditions were created to preserve the patriarchy. When growing up, what you assumed was a sign of respect was actually fear drilled into the system. Today I shall highlight unhealthy practices in the current oppressive format that are either demeaning or harmful to the people they purport to serve.

1. Extortion through dowry and bride price

The concept of dowry and bride price has lost its true meaning and is mostly abused now. This was first used to solidify new relationships between families, but now it’s prime business. So unless we trace back our roots and make this what it used to be, I see no reason for encouraging extortion.

Can we also talk about how it encourages ownership right from the father ‘handing over’ the daughter to the groom assuming full ownership without the bride’s input? The bride isn’t even allowed to be in the negotiation room. C’mon patriarchy!

2. Wife inheritance 

Speaking of ownership, wife inheritance (by extension forced marriages) is such a disgusting and belittling practice that should have been buried with our ancestors. However, some communities still pride themselves in this. The sooner we realize women are not anybody’s property, the better.

Just because she married your brother does not give you the right to inherit her when your brother passes on. For a continent that suffers the most from increased incidences of HIV/AIDS, we sure are reckless, and the ramifications will continue to haunt us. This also goes hand in hand with forced marriages. 

3. Daughters banned from inheriting land 

In most African customs, daughters are banned from inheriting their father’s land and property. I applaud the legal frameworks that have been constituted in some countries to annul such ridiculous outdated structures.  Women should be treated as the equals that they are. 

4. Female Genital Mutilation 

Female Genital Mutilation is a very harmful practice that served to control women’s libido. Anything that touches on women’s autonomy over their bodies I have a problem with. 

5. Harmful body alterations

Check out these harmful body modifications and rituals still practised in some communities as initiation rites.

6. Virginity testing

Some communities still practice virginity testing to shame and punish those found not to be “clean and pure,” and older women conduct this.

7. Child labor

Anyone still found committing child labour should be incarcerated, as simple as that.

8. Persecution of people living with disabilities

The culture of human sacrifice through mutilation and murder against people living with disabilities and vulnerable members of the society, including children, to appease the gods or spirits to bring ‘wealth and luck.’ People with albinism in some countries have suffered the most and live in fear of being sold to the black market for their body parts.

9. Bias and discrimination against left-handedness

Associating left-handedness with a disability, disrespect, or disgrace to society.  Can somebody confirm to me that right-handed people clean their bum bums using only the left hand? I need answers for this video.

10. Glorifying politicians

Lastly, we should stop worshipping politicians and treating them as demigods. This has cultivated a culture of impunity. Definitely culture and traditions to stop! They are walking around feeling untouchable, and guess who is suffering and still languishing in poverty? You guessed right, definitely not their families.

Series Navigation<< The Diverse, Unique and Peculiar Kenyan Culture | Day 18/305 Books You Should Read in 2019 | Day 20/30 >>


  1. June 19, 2019 / 5:00 pm

    Oh man!! I am left-handed.. 😂😂😂

    This is great!!

    • Lila
      June 19, 2019 / 9:06 pm

      Lmaooo Lefties Unite

    • Lila
      July 4, 2019 / 12:19 pm

      That’s a good start lol

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