5 Really Bizarre South African Cultural Practices That Are Still In Place

The South African society is highly multicultural and many of its activities are rooted deeply in traditions. Though most of the cultural activities practised in South Africa are generally acceptable, some are really bizarre.

Here are 5 bizarre South African cultural practices you will see when you visit the country:

5 Weird South African Cultural Practices

Marrying Many Wives For Leaders

The status of a man in Kwa-Zulu is determined by the number of cattle, goats, and wives he has. Leaders are particularly allowed to have more wives because of their status. While most of the South African community is fast getting westernized especially because of high levels of education, most traditional men in Kwa-Zulu believe in this tradition and marry many wives.

Chiefs and other people in positions of leadership have as much as 10 wives which are an indication of their social status in the community. The marriage ceremony is even more bizarre. The girl being married is required to wear a lot of coloured beads in her skirt and head so that everybody can know that she is already married. The man is also required to escort the girl in full traditional clothing and inspect the house she will be staying in to make sure that there is no animal such as snake that can harm the new bride. This South African cultural practice is not just practised in Kwa-Zulu, but also in other parts of the country.

zuma and wives

Forced circumcision in controlling boys’ deviant behaviour

While circumcision (ukwalusa) in Khosa community is one of the many acceptable South African cultural practices, its application as a deterrent for boys deviant behaviours and the way it is done remains truly bizarre. When boys become deviant and their parents cannot easily control them, they are subjected to circumcision by force. Though the ritual is not scientifically proven, it is believed to make the boys sober up and become responsible.

The deviant boy is caught and restrained in the village by Kraal men who take him to the surgeon. He is then restrained the entire night because circumcision is done at sunrise. The operation is carried out using a sharp blade and the boy must not cry from pain. The cut portion is then thrown on the ground and the boy has to bury it in an ant heap which will eat it up.

READ
Interesting Things That Are Most Recognized About The Culture Of The Xhosa People

Use of Copper Rings Around the Neck

After a Ndebele wife is married and taken to the man’s home, she is expected to look as spectacular as possible. This is done in two ways. First, the Ndebele wife wears copper rings around the neck, arms and legs. The rings are provided by the husband and believed to possess a lot of ritual power. Because they are expected to wear the rings throughout their lives, neck bones get malformed and become very painful for most of them. Many women end up in hospitals to have them removed because of excessive pain.

Use of Cattle to Pay for the Bride (labola)

Many people from the Zulu community despite having migrated to the urban suburbs still practice this custom. They believe that cattle is the best way to get compensation for the daughter they are giving (losing) in marriage. The man marrying a lady is expected to physically drive a heard of cattle to the lady’s home in a celebration. However, the number varies depending on the lady being married. A daughter of a prominent chief could attract as much as 20 heads of cattle while the number goes as low as 5 for other girls. Even Zulu men in the urban areas go to the countryside to take cattle to ladies homes in order to be allowed to take their brides.

Special Reference to Campfire

Campfires lit to celebrate visitors are considered to hold a lot of significance and bonding. The people gathering around a specific fire are believed to have special bonding and their words are not to be heard by others in a different fire even if they are next to each other. The visitor is therefore expected to greet all the people in the campfire and keep repeating the same greetings for every group even when the fires are next to each other. Some community believes that talking to a person from a different campfire is impolite.

Was this article helpful?
Andile Smith
Andile Smith
Andile provides articles on anything from Politics, Sports, History and entertainment to funny, creepy and weird. His passion for writing allows him to take what is ordinary and transform it into a real masterpiece. He's a true storyteller with a passion for tech and literature
data-matched-content-rows-num="2" data-matched-content-columns-num="4" data-matched-content-ui-type="image_stacked" data-ad-format="autorelaxed">

Recommended

Jub Jub – Inside the Life of Uyajola 9/9 Presenter Who Met His Wife While in Prison

Jub Jub is a South African hip-hop artist, actor, entrepreneur, and reality show host. He is popularly known for his criminal record, which slowed...

How DJ Zinhle’s New House and Watches Reflect Her Net worth and Lifestyle of Luxury

DJ Zinhle, born Ntombezinhle Jiyane, is arguably one of the most successful DJs in the African continent. She is well-known in the South African...

DJ Zinhle and AKA Split Twice and Have A Daughter Together – A Look Back At Their Relationship

There was a time when the love between DJ Zinhle and AKA (Kiernan Jarryd Forbes) was what every couple wanted to have in South...

AKA and Cassper Nyovest Beef – Inside the Rivalry between the Top 2 Rappers

AKA and Cassper Nyovest are two of South Africa's biggest rappers, but in the softest of tones, they do not like each other. The...

Itumeleng Khune’s Car, Salary and House Depict His Luxurious Lifestyle

The famous Itumeleng Khune is well known for his great taste for luxury cars and expensive lifestyle since he came into limelight. The South...

Featured Today

READ
10 Shaka Zulu Facts That Will Shock Your Knowledge of History

Understanding Gugu Gumede – The Real Life Mamlambo from Uzalo’s Name, Age and Personality

Gugu Gumede is a talented actress who garnered much recognition for playing the fictional character Mamlambo in the South African television show, Uzalo. Having...

Inside Patrice Motsepe’s Cape Town House and Luxury Cars worth Hundreds of Millions

Patrice Motsepe is not only one of the richest individuals in South Africa, but he is also one of the richest black men in...

Who is Shauwn Mkhize? She’s Was Married to Her Millionaire Husband S’bu for 15 years

No list of successful South African women would be complete without Shauwn Mkhize. She is an accomplished business executive famed for her business acumen...

Itumeleng Khune Is Married and Shares A 10-Year Age Gap With Wife Sphelele Makhunga – Meet His Family

Itumeleng Khune has covered the distance in both his professional life, as well as his love life. He is now very much of a...

Dawn Thandeka King – Insights into the Age, Husband and Family of MaNgcobo from Uzalo

Not every actor became successful through multiple roles. Dawn Thandeka King, like some actors, achieved fame and fortune with just one role. Although the...
Was this article helpful?

Related Stories