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5 Most Peculiar Things Banned by African Dictators that Will Leave You in Appall

Think about some of the most power-drunk people you know and I’m sure an African president’s name will cross your mind. From staying in power for as long as they live to running a country while they vacate in western countries, the list of absurd things goes on and on and with each passing day.

There is no telling what African presidents have up their sleeves. They seem to be in a competition to outdo each other every time. Just when you think they have outdone themselves, they come back ten times stronger to prove you wrong.

Here are 5 of the strangest things you could think of that were once banned by African dictators.

Mini skirts, perfumes and single women 

It is popular knowledge that Idi Amin had a thing for young girls that smelled nice during his time as a soldier but something must have gone wrong somewhere when he became a president. We don’t know what happened when Idi Amin woke up that morning in 1973, but perhaps he had seen enough flesh and thighs to last him a lifetime and could not take it any longer.

Believe it or not, Alhaji Idi Amin, during his reign as Ugandan Presidents banned women from wearing perfumes, wigs, trousers and miniskirts all in the name of “morality check”. A few months after the ban, he took it a step further to ban single women and ordered that all single women be cleared off the streets sending out his officers to ensure that all single women got married!

Reverend Canaan Banana

Specific words and names

How difficult will it be not to be able to use certain words again? The first president of Zimbabwe Reverend Canaan Banana had major issues and one of them was his surname being used as a joke. In 1982, President Banana decided to ban the use of the word, especially in jokes.

As if that isn’t enough of a joke, President Francisco Macias Nguema of Equatorial Guinea banned the use of the word “intellectual” after failing his civil servant entrance exams three times. He took it a step further to ban private schools and churches as well as killing people who wore spectacles!

He must have been a troubled person because he later banned hospitals only to replace them with witch-doctors and also banned religion and changed the country’s motto to, ‘There is no other God than Macias Nguema.” In Equatorial Guinea, it was also illegal to name your child Monica.


Teodoro Obiang Nguema

Certain music genres

After killing his uncle and taking over Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema banned rap in the country when musicians began to use the music as a tool of expressing their unpleasant experiences and unhappiness with him and his government. Till date, rap music is an offence. Julius Nyerere also banned soul music in Tanzania.


In 2014, the ruling government in Burundi banned jogging as a result of suspicion that the opposing party was using it as a way of leading the people to protest their governance. People are said to be facing jail time for an activity that was once a favourite pastime in the country. In order not to be too cruel, the government registered jogging clubs and people had to sign up in order to have the pass to jog.

Joseph-Désiré Mobutu

European suits and hats

The wearing of hats was made exclusive to Joseph-Désiré Mobutu, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo when he placed a ban on it. Being his favorite type of hat, the president decided to ban the specific wearing of hats with leopard skin print, making him the only person rightful by law to wear.

He also placed a ban on the wearing of European suits forcing the men to wear collarless tunics. To add to his bizarre needs, he also passed a law that the news bulletins always had to begin with a scene of him descending from heaven in order to remind the people that he was a deity.


Written by How Africa

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