•ZIMBABWEAN Model, GREATMORE CHATYA
I have travelled around Africa quite a bit. And this cuts across the North, South, East and Western part of Africa. And in the course of my travels,I have seen and learnt a lot about the Culture, Tradition and Customs of Africans. Remember Africa is the wellspring of the human race. The second largest continent in the world.
In terms of area and population, it offers the visitor a unique, renowned prehistoric sites, numerous of several of the world’s greatest ancient civilizations, vibrant cultures remote villages and modern cities. Africa has shorelines on the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Red Sea to the Northeast,the Gulf of Aden slightly further South and the Mediterranean Sea to the north.This huge continent is more than 8,000km (5,000mi) cross North-South and 7,500k (4,800mi) East-West with some island even further out and contains many vastly different peoples, religions, and cultures. Africa has sovereign countries-the most of any continent.
The experience in my travels around Africa has made me know that, Africa is really one country. Amazing as this may sound, this is a remarkably common misconception, in part, because Africa is often spoken of as a single place. I realized that we are not so much different culturally.
The African Culture “SELF” is not separate from the world. It is united and intermingled with the natural and social environment. The rich and diverse African Culture varies only from one country as well. The culture of each ethnic group centers on family and can be found in each group’s art, music, cuisines, and oral literature different. I have travelled to different African countries and I have realized that quite a number of cultural groups have similar food in terms of cuisines. For example, a very common Maize/Corn based dish is Pap, also named Ugali-Kenyan,Nasima-Malawian, Nchima-Zambia, Fufu- common in Ghana and Nigeria, depending on which part of the continent you are eating it.
Traditionally, the various cuisines of Africa use a combination of locally available fruits, cereal grains and vegetables, as well as milk and meat products, and do not usually get food imported. In some `I have visited, the traditional diet features a lot of milk, curd and whey products. Depending on the region, there are also sometimes quite significant differences in the eating and drinking habits and proclivities throughout the continent’s vast populations: Central Africa,East Africa, the Horn of Africa, North Africa, Southern Africa and West Africa each have their own distinctive dishes.
My on favorite cuisine dish of all times in the African Countries I have been to is Afang soup a cuisine dish from Calabar the South Southern Nigeria city in the Cross River State.
While own my travels ventures in Africa I also learnt about different Customs and Culture. My visit to Ethiopia while taking a tour in Addis Ababa, the taxi driver began to tell me about the culture and customs. He told me a story about how young boys from Hamer tribe, that they are required to run, jump and subsequently land on the back of a bull. Once successful, they are then required to run across the backs of several bulls. This ceremony is known as Bull-Jumping Ceremony a 3-day long rite of passage that usually requires for the bull jumper to be naked. If they succeed,the bull jumped will be known as Maza- meaning accomplished one-and will be entitled to take wives.If they fail,they return to their village and wait another year to try again.
It is amazing how beautiful and unique Africa is. Why did I say that? Because for instance, there are many ways to greet others. On my travel to Kenya I visited the Southern part of Kenya where the Maasai people of the East Africa live. One of my good friends, is from there. Wow, I got the unexpected welcoming greetings. I thought people only greet each other via a handshake or verbally all over the world.
Well, there goes my unexpected greeting. Did you know that the Massai tribe’s form of greeting is one of the most unique. It is customary for the Massai people to spit as a way of saying hello to others. I got enough spitting greetings on my face hahahaha.Men even spit on newborn babies and refer to the child as bad as they believe that’s this would protect the child from curses and evil spirits. Warriors of the tribe also spit in their hands before shaking the hand of an elder.
In Sudan I discovered that kidnapping their brides is part of their custom. The Latuka tribe practice bride kidnapping,were a man kidnaps the woman he wants to marry.After this,the elderly members of the man’s family travel to the kidnapped woman’s house to ask the father for the girl’s hand in marriage.If the father agrees he will beat the man as a sign of his acceptance.However his agreement is largely optional -as the man may still force the girl to marry him in absence of her father’s agreement.
Meanwhile in my on tribe we pay Lobola in Ndebele, or Roora in Shona.This is a custom by which a bridegroom’s family makes a payment in cattle and cash to bride’s family for marriage.And all the negotiations must be done in writing.I realized this also common in other African Countries.
In the mist of all my travels, I realized that culture defines us.Yes,to a great extent, especially when we talk of land such as Africa which is also called the RAINBOW NATION.Africa is varied and manifold, consisting of a mixture of tribes,each having their unique characteristics.It’s also very beautiful how African culture is expressed in its arts folklore and religion, cuisines,clothing and languages.
Like they say there is no other place like home, I don’t think there is any other place in the world I would rather live in than Africa.