Africa is known to be a place of culture. However, there are those countries that are known for their weird cultures. Ghana is not an exception to this. As a matter of fact, Ghanaian cultural practices are one of the most bizarre in the African continent. This can be attributed to the illiteracy levels in most parts of the country. Some of these practices are so dehumanizing since they involve taking away human life. Luckily, with the introduction of formal education, these practices have declined in number though they are still carried out in most parts of the country. Some of these practices include:
1. Circumcision/Genital Mutilation
This is a common cultural activity among many African countries. It is a very significant activity since it symbolizes the transition from childhood to adulthood. The methods of circumcision were life threatening since they involved the use of the same knife for many people. This is an easy way to transmit diseases. Male circumcision involved the removal of the foreskin, however, the female circumcision involved the removal of the genitals and this is said to be done to ensure that the female retains her chastity. The female circumcision, however, endangers the life of the female. It would bring about complications during the childbearing process. In addition, fatalities are also recorded as an aftermath of female genital mutilation. Women would die due to excessive bleeding during childbearing and circumcision.
2. Puberty rites
This is one of the Ghanaian cultural practices common among the Dipo people. It marks the transition for young women into adulthood. After a girl’s first menstruation, she is secluded from the community where she is taught the secrets of womanhood. This is a rite a lady must undergo before she is deemed fit for marriage. In addition, for this rite to be performed, the girl must still have retained her virginity. In most cases, the girls who have lost their virginity and become pregnant are banished from the community together with the man responsible for the pregnancy. A cleansing ritual is performed in order for the two to be accepted back to the community. This rite is aimed at ensuring girls control their sexuality and avoid unwanted pregnancies.
3. Killing of deformed children
Deformed children were said to be possessed by evil spirits and the community only deems it fit to kill the “evil children”. This tradition is still carried out in most parts of Ghana. However, the Ghanaian government has a hard time trying to deal with such an inhibitive practice. This is because it is something the people of Ghana have practiced since time immemorial. The world at large is against such a culture as it denies the disabled children a chance to live. Most analysts give examples of various powerful world leaders who have had deformations but have made it in life. They include the likes of Franklin Delano who was the 32nd president of USA and had survived a polio attack.
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4. Human sacrifice
As a way to appease their gods for one reason or the other, they would kill people and offer them as sacrifices. This was mostly done to infants. Babies were believed not to have any sins or problems and thus, the gods would readily accept their sacrifices. This is one among the listed Ghanaian cultural practices that has cut short the lives of so many innocent children. To make matters worse the only sacrificed healthy infants. Deformed babies were not legible for sacrifice since they were said to be possessed by an evil spirit.
5. Beautification (scarification)
It is said that “no pain, no gain”. For beauty purposes, those aspiring to get the services were subjected to very harsh conditions that posed a great danger to their lives. The scarification process involved making marks on the skin and then treated by irritation. It goes without saying that it was a painful experience. During such a practice, a lot of blood would be lost and in some ugly cases, would lead to loss of life. This is due to the fact that there were poor methods of treatment.
Most of these bizarre practices are still being carried out in Ghana. They are being carried out at a time the government and the world at large is condemning these practices. These practices are truly life threatening and they portray a bad image of Ghana as a barbaric society. It is time the people still performing such bizarre acts understood that time is changing and we are in a modern world where human life is precious. The Ghanaian government on its part needs to put up stern measures that will put to an end to these bizarre Ghanaian cultural practices.