Initiationcycles of traditional South African cultures
Thereare traditions and rituals followed in South Africa. They are knownto start during birth and end when death occurs. A vital role in therituals is performed by traditional healers and also ancestors. Thetraditions get practiced by the people in rural areashowever, the practices differ from community to community. The mostimportant times during the life of a person are birth. Rite ofpassage is the most common in the initiation practices of the peoplefrom South Africa. They involve the pre-adolescent girls and alsoboys. They occur on an annual basis and involve a ceremony that lastfor two weeks.
Therituals involving boys end the puberty period and starts the manhood.Due to this reason the initiation of males still prevails becausemale persons gets considered immature when the rites of passage failsto get conducted. The boys are allowed to live with the chief andwork for him in his camp. They then proceed to the bush where theylive together. They undergo the hardening and they are transformedfrom boys to men. The rituals are included initiation intowomanhood. During the start of the menstrual cycle of girls, they goto the ceremonies and learn on matters concerning sex, etiquette,duties as a wife life in marriage and also agriculture. They laterreceive clothes from mothers as well as new names to indicate theyare adults. When the girls go to labor spells and charms are appliedto them as a way of protecting them from the ancestors who may beangry. The last stage in the ritual process is death. It marks thereturn of a person to his or her ancestors.
Coming-of-AgeRituals in Africa: Tradition & Change
Inthe Nigerian state, girls take some time in rooms while they getpampered. They wear coils made from cooper aimed at restrictingmovements. It is part of the rituals and also their transformation towomanhood. In the Senegal state boys are led to the forest termed assacred forest. It is meant to experience them with death and returnto childhood. It is a state of purity by which they are transformedto members of society who are mature. The ritual is observed toconsist of three stages. They include the separation from thecommunity, the liminality stage and later the reincorporation to thecommunity.
Theperiod during the transition comprises of various painful tests andalso ordeals. The aspect of male circumcision exists in many parts ofthe African communities. On the other hand, the issue of femalecircumcision or female genital mutilation varies among the societies.The coming of age practices and rituals are common in the present daysociety. However, they separate from each other and male circumcisionprevails. The world health organization makes estimations that100-140 million women have undergone the female genital mutilation.Statistics indicates that 91.5 million of the total number originatesfrom Africa.
Thereis a number of health factors associated with the issue of femalegenital mutilation. The initial effects of the mutilation are pain,injury, infection, shock and hemorrhage. The cutting of the genitalsuses beliefs of the traditions on gender and also a duality. Theclitoris is believed to belong to men and are removed from women tomake them complete. However, with the increased modernization peopleare leaving the traditions and relocating to urban areas.