Tattoos: its impact on African society

Tattoo: Everything there is to know about it

The tattoo has been a controversial occurrence for so long. Although it is foreign and strange in most cultures and countries as whole, it is becoming more and more accepted as generations pass by. Tattoos have become more popular in recent years, and the people who get them are as diverse as the styles and designs they choose!


In Africa most people associate the inking of the skin with violence, radicalism, corruption or bad influence. A social experiment shows that people with exposed tattoos will mostly be judged harshly by 5/10 people in public. A tattoo can also a deal cutter if noticed during a job interview or even noticed during dinner with your girlfriend/boyfriend parents. As the saying goes, “most people fear what they do not know”. This can be a factor to consider, because the concept of getting inked permanently scarred on your skin is a bizarre idea to some people even till this day. There are many reasons people choose to ink their skin, whether for personal reasons or just for fun. A lot of people do not realize that tattoos is just another form of expressive art, With symbolism being it’s major stance. A tattoo can symbolize or represent a loved one, a memory, a passion or downright to look cool!

A woman with tattoos in a wedding dress.

Who Invented The First Tattoo Machine?

Samuel O’Reilly invented the tattoo machine in the late 1800s. Samuel F. OReilly (May 1854 – 29 April 1909) was an American tattoo artist from New York, who patented the first electric tattoo machine on December 8, 1891.

Here is a fact most do not know!

Some African tribes in sub-Sahara, West Africa actually inked and scarred (what we call tattoos nowadays) their skin for various reasons (which involves for war, for communication, for expression, for identification or even spirituality!) even before the tattoo was recognised or the tattoo machine was invented in the western world!

Image showing tattoo. Tattoo: Everything to know about it

So before saying that tattoo is a foreign, bad decision; remember that it is entirely possible, your ancestors did it before them!

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, lets discuss more on everything about the Tattoos.

How is a Tattoo Created?

Image showing tattoo. Tattoo: Everything to know about it

Artists create tattoos by injecting ink into a person’s skin. To do this, they use an electrically powered tattoo machine. The machine moves a solid needle up and down to puncture the skin between 50 and 3,000 times per minute.

The needle penetrates the skin by about a millimetre and deposits a drop of insoluble ink into the skin with each puncture.

When you look at a person’s tattoo, you’re seeing the ink through the epidermis, or the outer layer of skin. The ink is actually in the dermis, which is the second layer of the skin. The cells of the dermis are far more stable than the cells of the epidermis, so the tattoo’s ink will stay in place, with minor fading and dispersion, for a person’s entire life. Next, we’ll look at how artists actually create tattoos, from preparation to finishing touches.

What Does Getting A Tattoo Feels Like?

Image showing tattoo. Tattoo: Everything to know about it

Before you ask; yes, it is definitely going to hurt! However, how much it hurts depends on your pain tolerance, size, and location. Tattoos tend to hurt more around sensitive areas that have more nerves and less flesh. However, if you have got skin made out of steel, you probably will not feel a thing. This is especially true if you opted for a meatier location, like your bicep or thigh. Areas that are more painful tend to include the forehead, neck, spine, ribs, fingers, ankles and top of your feet.

Can I Get A Tattoo Anywhere On My Skin?

Image showing tattoo. Tattoo: Everything to know about it

The answer to the question is actually yes, you can get a tattoo anywhere on your skin if you have a high pain tolerance! The most tatted person in the whole world has tattoos everywhere on his skin, from his head to his feet!

Does A Tattoo Stay On the Skin Forever?

Image showing tattoo. Tattoo: Everything to know about it

It actually depends on your choice. If you wish only for a temporary tattoo that will fade with time, then you should make your preference known to the tattoo artist. They are various ink for various duration on the skin. While most opt into a permanent tattoo, this will stay on your skin until you are 6 feet below the ground!

How Much Would It Cost To Get a Tattoo?

This depends on the size of the tattoo itself. The size, color and area of choice are the three main determining factors of the price. If you want a small, heart shaped, black color, arm embedded tattoo, then you will definitely pay less. The cost of such can range from 30 dollars ($30) to about 100 dollars ($100). However, if you aim for their entire leg, torso, back or arm tattooed with a lot of colors and complex designs, then be sure to stack up in bucks cause you could be charged up to $1000 bucks!

Image showing tattoo. Tattoo: Everything to know about it

do you have a tattoo? Let us know your experience in the comments down below!

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