Unusual tribes of Africa

After all, there are still places on earth where the bloodthirsty paw of scientific progress has not been reached. Places where people still believe in magic, communicate with spirits, worship the forces of nature, and even… eat people. Here, polygamy is still considered the norm of family life, and the birth of babies is as natural as eating or defecating…


These indigenous people of Africa, as well as many others, suffered as a result of European colonization. Their total number on the globe does not exceed 100 thousand people. Bushmen are harsh. Their life, as well as hundreds of years ago, is fraught with numerous difficulties and dangers. There is no place for weakness in it:

  • if a bushman’s mother gives birth to a baby three years after the previous birth, she kills him. This gives the previous child a better chance of survival. The fact is that bushmen breastfeed babies until the next child is born. In some very rare cases, feeding is delayed for five or more years;
  • Europeans called Bushmen “artisanal people”. When the male hunters of this tribe roam the plain in search of animals, at night they dig holes in the ground for sleeping, which are covered with dry brushwood from above. For greater safety, this is usually done in the bush. Hence the name;
  • bushmen feed on almost everything that comes to their hand – termites, locusts, caterpillars. Bushmen love a variety of fruits and roots. But meat remains the most desirable dish for them. Numerous travelers who have visited this people note the truly bestial appetite of bushmen when eating meat;
  • one of the main advantages of these people is the intuitive ability to find drinking water. The problem of the lack of water resources today is facing these people no less than a thousand years ago. They skillfully mask their wells, filter moisture from the air with the help of numerous cunning devices, and do not want to share this treasure with anyone except representatives of their tribe;
  • Bushmen are the only African tribe that does not know the concept of “leader”. They have everything in common: grass, animals, the sky, and the stars. From an early age, children are brought up with great respect for their elders. Imagine a situation – a small child finds sweet roots or fruits somewhere. He would not eat them alone for anything in the world but would take them to the community so that they would be divided equally among everyone there.;
  • bushmen have one of the lowest pain thresholds in the world. While, for example, they are undergoing surgery without anesthesia, they can smile and chat carelessly. This is due to the conscious extermination of weak infants and prolonged breastfeeding of the remaining;
  • they say bushmen can understand the language of plants and animals. If a bushman has no desire to kill an animal, for example, he can come up and calmly suck milk together with animal offspring. And the amazing thing is that he is allowed to do it.


The people whose origin is still disputed by anthropologists and ethnographers is a vivid example of how the life of a beautiful and carefree tribe can change overnight when civilization intervenes. It is this phenomenon that the German researcher and director Leni Riefenstahl noted during her visits to the Sudanese tribe.

The Nuba people, unlike other peoples of Africa, have always given a woman the right to choose her partner for further relationships. A young girl, in the presence of the whole tribe, performed a rhythmic ritual dance, at the end of which she put her foot on the shoulder of the boy she liked. Parents were in no hurry to give their consent and the young man began to build a house for his future wife. In the process of this action, young people already became close, and often the girl, not being officially married, already brought home the offspring.

It should be added to this that the Nuba never wore clothes, and without being ashamed of their nakedness in front of each other, they seemed to revel in the beauty and harmony of the human body.

The situation changed when the Government of Sudan decided to “civilize” the tribe. They imposed the idea that nudity is shameful, and that an easy and carefree lifestyle is unacceptable. The men of the tribe went to work in large cities from where they brought a lot of venereal diseases and unnecessary prejudices. That’s how the new, civilized history of this tribe began.


Southwest Ethiopia is home to one of the most violent and bloodthirsty peoples of Africa. The Mursi believe that they live in Paradise, and the higher powers of the Tumvi make their people the chosen ones and allow them to kill as many enemies as possible. Which is exactly what they do. The men of this tribe are always in a state of drug or alcohol intoxication, and Kalashnikov assault rifles, which are supplied here from the neighboring state of Somalia, make them killing machines.

  • the Mursi are fighting for life and death not only with enemies but also with their fellow tribesmen. For the right to be a leader, they are ready, if not to kill, then to beat to death. At the same time, if a tribesman dies, the murderer gives some woman from his tribe to his family;
  • Mursi are people of short stature, with small evil eyes and almost hairless heads. Women use almost everything that comes to hand for hairstyles on their scanty hair cover – animal tails, insect corpses, someone’s pieces of skin;
  • to resist the bites of tsetse flies, as well as to scare away other mosquitoes, the Mursi smear themselves with a fetid mixture that vaguely resembles the smell of vomit, but is very popular in the tribe;
  • the most distinctive feature of Mursi women is round discs inserted into the lower and sometimes upper lip. The larger the disk, the more attractive a girl is considered, the more prosperous her family is, and the greater her desire to get married. The most “worthy” grooms, they are also the most ferocious, choose as their wives, as a rule, those girls who have a similar disk on both lips. Such a bride, practically cannot speak, and eats with difficulty (is considered an ideal wife);
  • Mursi women also decorate their bodies with numerous convex tattoos. To do this, the skin is cut in some places, and parasite larvae are launched into the resulting wounds, which grow for some time, and then (if the body is strong) die, and their corpses become overgrown with connective tissue, forming peculiar mounds;
  • every Mursi man believes that his wife becomes a priestess of love after marriage. She stupefies a man with a special potion every time before the beginning of intercourse. There is one high priestess above all the priestesses of love. She goes around the huts of the tribe with her intoxicating powder and blows it into the mouths of drugged men. They fall asleep and do not wake up until they receive the antidote. According to Morsi’s beliefs, only the high priestess and the demon of death know who needs to be given the antidote, and who does not. The bodies of the deceased men are used for food, and the paths are ennobled with bones.


The people living in the Republic of South Africa and Swaziland, but who have preserved their identity to a greater extent in the latter state, are famous for their marriage traditions:

  • usually, virgin wives are chosen for the king “with the whole world”, the number of which can reach up to several dozen. The current King Mswati III has, unlike his predecessors, only 14 wives, as he received a good European education;
  • the wedding ritual of the king’s marriage is in many ways similar to our customs: the “friends” also try to kidnap brides, also break through the crowd of “friends – protectors” and, as they say, slightly “spoil” the girls during this mess;
  • husbands and wives of the Swazi people live separately, and everyone is entitled to their own house. Old people are also settled separately as a sign of great respect.


Berber people settled in numerous African countries. Its distinctive feature is that a complete matriarchy reigns here – women do all the important things, and men hide in their shadows:

  • The Tuaregs believe that they derive their name from the great and mighty Amazonian queen of the Sahara Tin-Hinan, whose burial was allegedly discovered recently in the south of present-day Morocco;
  • the official religion of the Tuaregs is Islam, but this practice does not affect their lifestyle in any way. On the contrary, the face is covered not by women, but by men, girls are respected even when they have a large number of sexual partners (unlike men);
  • a woman is the absolute owner of all existing family property. In case of divorce, it is she who decides what to leave to her man and what not. By the way, divorces for Tuaregs are a fairly common phenomenon;
  • Taureg women are very literate. From early childhood, they learn to read and write, while men do not know how to do all this. Usually, they are engaged in the trade or military affairs. At the same time, removing the bandage from the face of a man of this tribe is considered impermissible even during meals. Only a wife can see the face of her chosen one during carnal pleasures.


The people living in the south of Ethiopia differ from the rest by a special belief in the supernatural forces of the surrounding space. They believe that invisible forces – genies, can inhabit a person or an animal to do good or evil deeds:

  • women in this tribe become brides “on the issue” barely reaching the age of 12;
  • one man can take no more than four wives. Moreover, the eldest rules over the rest, and if the husband dies, she takes over all the household chores and family support, and just like the others, does not remarry. Along with this, the main widow takes care of the household of the deceased husband’s younger brother;
  • a man is allowed and even ordered to beat his wives on certain days.

The more scars a woman has on her body, the more peace and harmony reign in this family, according to local traditions.


The people living in the north of Namibia, perhaps one of the few on the globe, have never had their written language. The main asset of these people is cows. They buy anything, including a wife. The older a girl gets, the more childbearing she is considered, and the more livestock she is valued. The main thing is not to wait it out.

The girls choose a man for their husbands much older than themselves, and if the old man is unable to fulfill his marital duty, he secretly allows one of his eldest sons to use his wife, so to speak, not to lose face.


This peace-loving tribe of Ethiopia is perhaps the only one on the globe in which women are not forbidden to have outside sexual relations before marriage. However, if she becomes pregnant, then the father of the child is obliged to take her as his wife. The Tsamai tribe, for its friendliness, is very popular among tourists. Guessing their desires, many local women wear only the lower parts of their clothes while leaving their breasts open for photos.

2 thoughts on “Unusual tribes of Africa”

  1. I visited all continents except for Africa, this sounds surreal. I know there are people living in even more remote areas but I find it so odd when you compare their way of living with the amount of technology and AI we use on a day by day basis.

  2. Great read! I now added two documentaries to my watchlist, The Masai Women and The Kwegu. I find it so fascinating how these people have been able to preserve their way of life for so many years.

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