Wednesday, December 5, 2007

How Some African Boys Become Men

In the Xhosa ceremony in some rural parts of Africa boys have to go through a rigorous process to be considered a man in his tribe. In order to girls to want to marry, the boy has to go through an initiation of the Khwetha, also called the cirumsition lodge. The boy is sent out to live in a hut far away from any females and from the rest of the tribe and is forced to go through endurance practices and training on how to be a man.

While the young man is in this training he has to wear a reed skirt and cover himself in white sandstone, they also have to wear a reed cone head dress and a mask. The ceremony can last many days anywhere from one to two weeks. The boy has to act and dance like a bull as part of the ceremony.

When the day of the circumsition comes the people burn everything that was involved in the practice including the hut. They circumsize the young man with a blunt knife and the "boy" is then forced to bury his foreskin before he is beaten on the way to the river. The river will wash away his childhood. When he gets back from the river he gets red ochre put on him that won't be removed for three months. Once the red ochre is removed then the individual is finally considered a man and is able to be married.

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