Cultural Diversity With Cultural Extremism
African societies are not only blue prints of cultural diversity but also quintessential avenues for cultural extremism.
This radicalism of cultural diversity is shown by, among others, a cocktail of cultural practices such as Female Genital Mutilation practiced by tribes like the Sebei and the Pokot in Uganda, pre-conjugal bridal fights by the Karamojong and extreme lip stretching by the Ethiopian Surma tribe.
The diversity of cultural practices in Africa never ceases to reveal the complexity and enigma that is at the heart of humanity’s co-existence. Apparently, this cultural radicalism is not only in the present day but also dates back centuries.
I came to this conclusion when I was in Western Uganda, taking a boat ride on Africa’s second deepest lake called Lake Bunyonyi.
As is with all anomalies, there was a shrubby island whose scenery couldn’t go unnoticed.
With just two, old dry tree stumps and shrubs; the island inadvertently garners attention from whoever passes by it.
I found out that it was called the punishment island owing to its historical purpose.
This is an island where girls who got pregnant out of wedlock were dumped by their families and left to succumb to the brutality of indecision, loneliness and coldness.
The punishment island is in the deepest region of Lake Bunyonyi, implying that the victims of such mistaken moral compasses couldn’t easily swim back to the shores nor could attempts to rescue them be doable feats.
This is not to suggest that the island is now laden with bones and skulls of those who died there. As told by survivors, the girls somehow managed to leave the island or were rescued.
It’s not this kind of punishment that irked me, but the discovery that such inhumane cultural practices have existed since time immemorial. You might want to add this destination to your travel plan and you’ll see the island with your own eyes.