Essay Example on African Cultural Customs and Traditions: A Unique Identity

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  2
Wordcount:  528 Words
Date:  2023-01-16

Africans are a group of people found in the African continent who share many aspects of cultural values and traditions. Despite the existence of many countries in the African continent, there is a high rate of shared customs and traditions which can be used to identify the people of Africa as different from other groups of people residing in other continents (Salazar, 2009). For instance, the Maa people of Kenya and Tanzania can be considered as a cultural group that still practices unique cultural traditions and values (Sobania, 2002). The first cultural observation in the Maa people the physical culture is their iconic Manyatta houses that are unique and Bomas which are built following strict traditions to differentiate between different households since the Maa people practice polygamy marriages (Sobania, 2002). This paper will assess the cultural aspects of the Africans with the example of the Maa community to establish their cultural values and traditions that set them apart.

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The Maa community are pastoralists, which is their traditional economic activity, and before colonialism, they used barter trade to exchange their cattle with food crops and other items with other neighboring communities. The Maa people use the Maa language to communicate and at the same time, use different means of communication and practices that have cultural meaning (Salazar, 2009). Information is handed down from one generation to another through word of mouth, and young men are given access to the community secrets when they are initiated into warriors, and at the same time, they are given authority to marry and establish their families.

Women handle domestic matters, whereas crucial community issues such as invading other communities, declaring war, and settling boundary and resources conflicts are handled by elders (Salazar, 2009). As a rite of passage, young Maa boys' progress from childhood to adulthood after a pain endurance rite of passage in which the lower incisors are removed (Salazar, 2009). Besides, the Maa people circumcise both boys and girls and traditionally males served in the military after circumcision whereas the girls were ready to be married off. Males are not supposed to show emotion as a means of courage, and emotions are associated with cowardice (Sobania, 2002).


The Maa community can be considered as a cultural group due to their unique identifying practices, values, and language. The Maa people fit the definition of culture due to their unique cultural traditions that sets them aside from other communities in the world. The members of the community are required to observe the established cultural practices such as circumcision, language, pastoralism, and social roles to belong to the Maa cultural group.


Sobania, N., (2002). But where are the cattle? Popular images of Maasai and Zulu across the twentieth century. Visual Anthropology, 15(3-4), 313-346. Retrieved from

Salazar, N. B., (2009). Imaged or imagined? Cultural representations and the "tourismification" of peoples and places. Cahiers d'etudes africaines, 49(193-194), 49-71. Retrieved from

Butt, A. (2017). The Nilotes of the Sudan and Uganda: East Central Africa Part IV.

Wengrow, D., Dee, M., Foster, S., Stevenson, A., & Ramsey, C. B. (2014). Cultural convergence in the Neolithic of the Nile Valley: a prehistoric perspective on Egypt's place in Africa. Antiquity, 88(339), 95-111.

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Essay Example on African Cultural Customs and Traditions: A Unique Identity. (2023, Jan 16). Retrieved from

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