Dominant Practices and Traditions of West Africa

West Africa is one of the exotic spots in Africa with its many cultures and practices; some are interesting, barbaric, inspiring or educating. 16 countries make up western Africa, and each country has a unique set of values and traditions. From dance to marriage, food to music and folktales to family values, this part of the world has been defined by its culture and tradition. The following are some of the dominant practices and traditions you can witness in West Africa:

Bride Price

A bride is not handed over to a groom without him paying her dowry and providing some traditional requirements. In some part of West Africa, the cost of “buying” a wife can be exorbitant, but this has not stopped men from marrying.  Bride price is as old as Africa, an important tradition that has refused to be eliminated by civilization and religion.



If there is a part of the world where you will enjoy storytelling, it is West Africa. There are hundreds of folktales and folklore that are centered on humans and animals including insects like spiders.  At the end of every story is a value or moral theme for the listeners to learn. Griots are the storytellers who often make use of traditional music in between their stories to talk about a lot of things.  Often, these stories are told in the open during dusk.


The people make use of games to settle the difference, unite and have pleasure. Soccer has become the most popular game in West Africa, while there are a wide range of traditional games that the people play. There is no better way to connect with friends than games. Games like Oware cannot be missed when you visit West Africa.


The people combine their music with chanted vocals, drums, and even jazz instruments for a poly-rhythmic composition. Afrobeat is the dominant music genre that is seen in this part of Africa. The people are richly talented that there is hardly a decade that they do not flood the music world. Each country has their pattern of music and with creativity; we see a fusion of different types of genres play out in their music.


Starchy meals are mostly the choice of West Africans. However, this does not mean that you cannot eat other meals. West Africa is one of the few places on earth where you are lost on the choice to make for your meals. There are hundreds of sumptuous meals that you may not be able to resist.  Talk about the legendary jollof rice that is found in Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal or the communal meals of the different nations in western Africa, and you will understand why tourists cannot stay away from West Africa.

Family Traditions

No matter how educated or civilized you may claim to be, the family traditions in West Africa cannot be wrapped under the table. Parents are highly regarded just as families are not neglected. Morals are highly appreciated by families that any scandal is not taken lightly by the people. Children cannot have their way in most things because it is believed that parents must make every choice for them until they are adults.