O level Notes : FRS - Indigenous religion - Puberty rituals

The  puberty  ritual is done  at a stage  of physical maturity and this is common  among  the Xangani people. Both boys and girls are taken away from the community to teach them adulthood   life including rules and  taboos  of the society, moral instruction and  social  responsibility.

Puberty rituals

The  puberty  ritual is done  at a stage  of physical maturity and this is common  among  the Xangani people. Both boys and girls are taken away from the community to teach them adulthood   life including rules and  taboos  of the society, moral instruction and  social  responsibility.  Circumcision   is  a  ritual which is common  among  the Xangani, the Remba and Venda people in Zimbabwe. When the boy reaches the teenage  age, the circumcision  ritual is done where the cutting of the foreskin of the male reproductive  organ  is done for religious  purposes. It is a rite which  marks  the  great  transition  from childhood to physical maturity.

Boys and girls are separately taken to a secluded place like a bush for four weeks. The male circumcision together with other initiation rites are conducted by traditional leaders and is usually done in winter between June and July so that boys would become physically fit. During this initiation period, boys are educated on how to be good men who provide for the family and make their wives happy. Boys are also taught about the traditional history and cultural songs. Before the completion of the initiation rituals, boys are circumcised using  razor blades and knives. After the healing  of the circumcised  wound  boys are taught  traditional education, various skills like hunting, thatching and blacksmith.  After the completion of the circumcision, people gather to celebrate male circumcision and this celebration is known as hoko in Xangani. The boy will have a new identity as he is given a new name.

 

Importance of puberty ritual

 

  • To ensure the shaping of productive community-oriented  responsible adults.
  • To prepare for adulthood.
  • To promote good morals in the society.
  • So that the boy could  now be given  a Xangani  name,  own wealth like cattle in his name,  sit at community court as well as participate in family ritual activities.