Africa possesses a long history of cults and secret societies that have allegedly played some roles in the continent’s economics, politics and law enforcement.
The advent of Internet has shone light on many secret societies, rendering them not so secret. Here’s a little light on eight cults and secret societies of Africa.
The Leopard Society was allegedly a cannibalistic society in the early-to-mid 2oth century in Sierra Leone, Libera and Côte d’Ivoire.
Group members would disguise themselves as leopards, wearing leopard skins, carrying claw-like weapons, and attacking their prey. They believed feasting on a human strengthened their bonds.
The Ekpe is a secret society that lives mostly in Nigeria and believes its members are messengers between dead ancestors and the living. It is a male-only society, and members are bound by secrecy.
The society is somewhat akin to a freemason group and does some unofficial law enforcement. Freemasons are a fraternal organization that can be traced
to the 14th century and who regulate members’ interactions with authorities and clients. Residents in Ekpe villages often go to the group to help them seek justice when they’ve been wronged.
The Ogboni is a fraternity indigenous to Nigeria, Benin and Togo. To be a member, one must be a part of Yoruba nobility. Allegedly, the group has a strong influence over the high courts when it comes to capital offenses.
Recently a member who left the group spilled details about Ogboni, saying they promise to make members rich but never do.
The Osirica is a black Egyptian masonic order that existed in ancient Egypt. Many believe this group’s village at present day Deir el-Medina was the original location where freemasonry began.
This village was originally named Ta Set Ma’at. Archaeological evidence found that the group was extremely advanced in education for its time, and headed the construction of the Valley of the Kings.
The Okonko was an ancient society that unofficially enforced the verdicts of village assemblies. The Okonko and the village members had unspoken understandings, like when a palm leaf was left behind a man’s house,
that meant that man had to face the court of the Okonko. Only men who didn’t have any shame in their pasts were admitted as members. During the initiation ceremony, the Okonko priests would reveal seven secrets to the new member that must never to be shared.
The Neegee or Crocodile Society is considered evil by the Poro and Sande groups. The Neegee is a cannibalistic group that feeds on human flesh to satisfy their God, and to gain power from that God. The group believes that
when they eat human flesh, they gain the ability to transform into a crocodile. The group allegedly staged murders to make it look like a crocodile attack.
Abakua is an Afro-Cuban men’s secret society related to the Ekpe. The group is a mutual aid society known for elaborate street dances and very high
expectations of the members to prioritize the group over their own families. The group has managed to stay mostly hidden for over more than 100 years.
THE DOOMSDAY CULT
In the 1990s a man named Joseph Kibweteere ran a cult in Uganda that emphasized apocalypticism. The cult allegedly died in 2001 when many of its members committed suicide after Kibweteere’s prediction for an apocalypse did not come true.