Uganda's most pierced man speaks out on life, body art

Davis Kana, aka Rasta Kana, from Uganda. PHOTO | MORGAN MBABAZI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Piercing is today considered an accepted form of body art.

Davis Kizza Kana a.k.a Rasta Kana has 83 piercings on his body making him Uganda’s most pierced man.

The piercings mainly on his face include 20 on each ear, 14 on his eyebrows, 10 in his nose, 10 around his lips, two in his tongue, four in the mouth, on the chin, another in the neck and one in his genital area.

“As you can see I have piercings on most parts of my face. I have not pierced my checks, forehead and head because I don’t want to lose the dreadlocks that I have kept for 14 years,” the soft-spoken Rastafarian added.

Rasta Kana, who chose this lifestyle in 2000, says his favourite body piercings are the smile, vampire and nose rings.

Silver is his favourite jewellery. “I prefer silver because it is the best on my skin from my experience. It is easy to clean and replace — but expensive.”


He says this body art is a personal choice showing the uniqueness of his persona. “You have to do self-discovery, find peace and comfort for yourself. You know this is who you are and want to be. You want to bring out who you are inside to be recognised outside.”

“To discover oneself takes a while because of the restrictions brought about by family or religious ties. However, people will accept the way you are with time and may even come to know you as a good, helpful and positive person. Just because of your creativity or lifestyle, you are still the same person inside.”

“Body piercing means everything to me. I saw the advantage of combining body piercing with the Rastafari belief, dreadlocks and body building. It is the best thing in my life and has made me happy. Because my parents are rich in mind and soul, they did not criticise or stop me,” Rasta Kana said.

He believes society has accepted him because he earns his daily bread at Azimarino Fitness Gym and Cybex Fitness Club. “All these places would not have employed me if I were a bad character.”

Of course, it has also attracted scorn, abuse and physical attack as some people refer to his body art as madness. “I have been physical attacked and verbally assaulted. Some have called me evil, illuminati, and even used derogatory terms for a homosexual. But I can handle these being a fitness trainer. Mostly, I ignore the attacks, avoid such people and deny them the attention they seek.”

“Body art has grown over time in Uganda as a result of an appeal from international celebrities wearing body art. Ugandans will want to imitate the tattoos of their favourite football stars in Europe,” tattoo artist, Eric Dash Sentamu says.

Piercing is today considered an accepted form of body art. It is not just a hobby anymore as it has become a multibillion dollar industry with youths crazy about this form of self-expression.

Although the history of body piercing is obscured by misinformation and lack of scholarly reference, there is ample evidence that it has been practiced in various forms by both sexes since ancient times throughout the world.

Like tattoos, body piercing has an extensive history across both ancient and modern cultures. While it is not uncommon for youth to decide that they want their ears pierced, others choose less conventional piercing locations such as tongues, noses, belly buttons, or even intimate body parts. Most piercings are created when an electric-powered “gun” quickly punctures the skin and a piece of jewellery is simultaneously inserted into the hole created.

“Infection is the greatest risk. If piercings are not performed by a qualified professional, adhering to strict hygienic procedures, serious infections can be spread from one client to the next.

According to the Guinness World Records, the ‘Most Pierced Man’ is Rolf Buchholz, from Dortmund, Germany, who had 453 piercings.