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7 Things You Didn’t Know About The African Tribal Marks (A Dying Culture)

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UoBelow are 7 things you didn’t know about the African tribal marks (A Dying Culture)

Beautiful face

1. Some Tribal Marks Are Used For Protection

Some tribal marks are drawn to provide the wearer with protection against all sorts of harm throughout their life. It was some sort of protective mark that is accompanied with powers connecting the tattoo to the wearer.

2. It Was Once Used To Deter Slave Masters

In the olden days, huge and unpleasant tribal marks were deliberately drawn on the faces of kids by their parents not because they hate them or anything, but because they didn’t want them to be kidnapped or sold.

Apparently slave masters then saw people with tribal marks on their faces as damaged goods.

spots tribal mark

3. It Is Used For Identification

It is believed that the use of tribal marks on the continent increased during the period of the Atlantic Slave trade.

Tribe members being shipped off as slaves to foreign countries were marked to identify them should they ever be rescued or freed.

It served as a permanent signatures of their heritage.

Typically, tribal mark and scarification in the African culture normally is used for identification purposes. People in the same tribe tend to have the same kind of strokes and lines on their faces. Like today you an identify a kogi man just by looking at the strokes on his face.

4. It Has Been Around For Long

Tribal Marks or Tattoo have been around for a very long time. Proof of the very first African tattoo was found in the year 1994 BC and was found on a mummy.

Related:   Meet Orompoto, The First and Only Female Alaafin Of Oyo

Stomach marks

5. How It Is Done

A typical tribal mark is done by first, forming a small opening on the desired body part that want to be tattooed after which Ash is then rubbed on the wound so that it would heal fast.

The result is a scar that is permanent and raised.

6. It Is Used As A Rite Of Passage

There are very many forms in which different cultures display the rites of passage from childhood to adulthood. Some tribes use circumcision while some tribes use tribal marks as their rites of passage.

Related:   Meet Orompoto, The First and Only Female Alaafin Of Oyo

The pain of having a tattoo done on your body was used to check the perseverance level of individuals.

Girls who could not persevere the tattooing process were bound to a lifetime of being single as she would possibly not be able to go through child-birth, a pain that is far much greater. While the Men who could not go through with it are labelled cowards and are not allowed to go hunting with the rest of the men.

tribal mark

7. Attraction

Back in the olden days, many tribes used tribal marks/tattoos as a form of make-up to attract the members of the opposite sex.

There were different designs drawn on different parts of the body. And as odd as it may sound, this worked for the ladies back then as they got husbands with the beauty of their tribal marks/tattoos.

african tribal mark



Uzonna Anele
Anele is a web developer and a Pan-Africanist who believes bad leadership is the only thing keeping Africa from taking its rightful place in the modern world.

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