Fun Facts - African Tribes


I hope you're ready for some facts!

This week I'm writing about African Tribes.


There are an estimated 3000 tribes in Africa

These tribes vary hugely in terms of language and culture. They also vary in size. Some are as small as a few groups you could fit in a tennis court whereas there are many with over half the UK's population and a few with even more!

What tribes do you know?

One of the most famous tribes is the Zulu tribe of South Africa; they are famous for their resistance to British colonization in the 18th-20th centuries which was the inspiration of the 1964 movie 'Zulu' starring Michael Caine. There are now approximately 10 million Zulu in South Africa. Other famous tribes include the Maasai, Yoruba and Xhosa.

They don't all live in the savanna as hunter gatherers

The most common misconception about tribes is that they all live in mud huts among lions and go out hunting with spears, this simply isn't true in most cases. There may have been a time where they all lived off the land but now it is more of a mark of where their ancestors came from.

A bit about traditional ritual masks...

In many traditional African cultures, the person who wears a ritual mask is said to become the thing the mask represents for the time it is worn. They are usually worn in accompaniment of music and/or a traditional dance in ceremonies. Body paint and other forms of costume can serve the same purpose. The wearer is often said to become a medium that allows for communication to the spirit world. Masked dances are a part of most traditional African ceremonies related to weddings, funerals, initiation rites etc.

Some tribes have extreme scars and piercings

Many tribes have distinctive piercings, none more extreme than lip plates from the Mursi and Surma tribes of Ethiopia. A piercing is made in the lower lip and a small disc is inserted in the hole, in time larger discs are inserted stretching the hole until it is very large. This practice is often combined with the removal of the lower front 2 front teeth! This is done about 6 to 12 months before marriage, a young woman has her lip pierced by her mother or one of her kinswomen, usually at around the age of 15 to 18.

That's it for now, look out for some brand new facts coming soon!







Thanks for reading,

Ross Okoye

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