Whatever You Do, Don’t Touch African Food With Your Left Hand.

It is a general belief all over the world that the right hand is for food and the left hand reserved for other tasks, In Africa, it is part of the cultural value that no matter what you are doing, nothing should make you touch food with your left hand. You don’t eat with your left hand, you shouldn’t even touch the plate with your left hand while eating. That’s largely because the left hand is associated with bodily functions, so it’s considered to be dirty.

Cultural understanding is very vital, in African using left hand is seen as rude. In cultural confines generally, left hands are considered inferior and dirty while the right hand is preferred. It is weird to use left hand and lefties have a lot to deal with.

Africans look at left handers with disdain, they quite often reject handshaking with left hand, it is a NO to receive money or things from a left hand and give out with an outstretched left hand, in fact using left hand has no place at all in African culture.

In Ghana, there is a general taboo on left-hand use giving, receiving, eating, and drinking with the left hand are considered rude by virtually all members of the community. A significant proportion of the people also consider pointing by the left hand to be rude. Pointing, here, includes both gestures that indicate a direction toward a location. Consequently, they avoid hand pointing by the left-hand in face- to-face interaction, especially with superiors and strangers.

The Malawians cited their views that left hand is less skilled and less powerful than the right ones as the main reasons for forcing left-handers to convert. Among students, teachers and parents said the left hand should not be used to perform habitual activities, and believed left-handers should be forced to switch dominant hands. Parents and close relatives are most responsible for impressing these beliefs upon their children.

In Uganda, it was considered evil to ably execute task with your left-hand. In traditional religious act, the devil was said to sit on God’s left-hand, which has made the left-hand dawned one.

In Zimbabwe, in many cases, left-handed people are forced to change to right hand at early stages of their lives. For those who manage to escape family and social pressure to switch from left to right, life in this right-handed world is not easy, but tiring and painful. For example, something as simple as writing is one of the challenges they have learnt to live with. Where right-handed people drag the pen behind from left to the right of the page, for left-handers, it is the opposite.

In Senegal, the left hand is considered dirty. No one uses their left hand as their dominant hand (for writing, eating, and so on)- any children who might otherwise choose to use their left hand are quickly corrected. Thus, it is socially unacceptable to use left hand, handshakes are done right-handed, you use your right hand to eat.

Although the modern world seems to have moved on from superstition, arguing that left-handedness is neither a disease nor a disability, it is a lifestyle, based on an individual’s brain arrangement. But the stereotypes attached to using the left-hand have persisted in some societies. That is why some teachers and parents still insist that a child must learn to use the right hand.

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