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17 African Myths and Superstitions on Motherhood

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Everyday, we come across lots of stories, rumors, fears, truths and mistruths about all aspects of motherhood. Some of them are rather ridiculous, some of them funny and some of them –well…I don’t know. Below is a list of some of the myths and superstitions I have heard about. Are they true or not? You tell me!

  1. Babies born at night will always stay awake at night.
  2. Children born on a Sunday will be protected from evil spirits all their life.
  3. A breastfeeding mother should never involve herself in an extramarital affair because if she does, her baby will grow thin then die.
  4. A breastfeeding mother should never be involved in a fight otherwise her child will die.
  5. A breastfeeding mum should never meet a man whose wife or child has just died, or else she or her child will die.
  6. A newborn girl should not be removed from the house before three days, and a baby boy not before four days, otherwise something bad will happen to them.
  7. Twins should never be shown a fresh grave otherwise they will die.
  8. If you cut a baby’s hair before he begins to talk, then he will stutter when he eventually starts talking.
  9. Cutting your baby’s nails before he is a year old will cause him to become a thief.
  10. Don’t cut a child’s nails until they are a year old, and when they are cut, they should be done by a healthy young man if the baby is a boy, or a healthy young woman if the baby is a girl. This way, they will enjoy robust health.
  11. Getting grandparents, village elders and anyone elderly to spit on your baby means the baby will be blessed and will prosper in life.
  12. When a child passes, take note of what subject his eyes will be drawn too and this will be his occupation (profession), when he grows up.
  13. Do not jump over (skip) children otherwise they will not grow. If you skip them, you have to reverse the skip.
  14. Keep children away from matchboxes or fires otherwise they will always wet their bed.
  15. Children should not be given chicken legs to eat otherwise they will never learn how to keep secrets.
  16. If you carry a baby on your back supporting him with a lesso, he will develop bowlegs.
  17. If you stand over a child, you soon begin sucking their blood (kunyonya damu).

So those are the ones I’ve heard of. Which other ones have you heard of? Do you believe them?

Now Read: 15 Widely Believed African Myths and Superstitions on Pregnancy

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Maryanne W. Waweru is a Kenyan mum raising her two sons in Nairobi. A journalist, Maryanne is passionate about telling stories and hopes that through her writing, her readers learn something new, feel encouraged, inspired, and appreciative of what they have in their lives. Maryanne's writing focuses on motherhood, women and lifestyle. "Telling stories is the only thing I know how to do," she says.

4 COMMENTS

  1. A breastfeeding mother should never involve herself in an extramarital affair because if she does, her baby will grow thin then die. This is hilarious to me.

  2. a pregnant mum should not breastfeed otherwise the warmth (joto) of the baby in the womb will radiate to him/her (i.e. the breastfeeding child) and he/she will fall ill.

    some of these tales need medical proof

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