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Many people in the African society have values and beliefs that are attached to their cultural practices, traditions and rituals that shape their lives in the society (Nel par.6). These…
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Lecturer: Summary of Cultural, Tradition and Ritual Practices in African Society Cultural, tradition and ritual practices are commonly practiced in many African countries. Many people in the African society have values and beliefs that are attached to their cultural practices, traditions and rituals that shape their lives in the society (Nel par.6). These cultural practices, customs and traditions vary from one religion to another. Tradition is an inherited pattern of behaviors or beliefs that are passed from one generation to another. Custom also refer to the common practices or habitual behaviors that regulate the social life of a certain group in society. Rituals are well established form of cultural practices or ceremonies that mark a certain social rite in the society. Although modernity or globalization has contributed to some changes in the African societies, many African societies are still attached to cultural practices, traditions and customary issues.
Cultural, traditional and ritual practices are widespread in African societies. The Ndebele people are well known for being artistic people because of artistic creativity and decorations of their homestead. Their historical perspective focuses on the ritualistic practices especially male and female initiation and marriage as well as religious practices or beliefs (Sian Tiley-Nel par.1). The Ndebele people are famous because of creativity in art, traditional practices and religious beliefs. They practice male and female initiation ceremonies known as ingoma or wela and iqhude or ukuthombisa respectively. Marriage ceremony is significant to them, and their ancestors, influences their daily practices.
The African coming-of –age rituals are viewed as consisting of three main stages, which includes separation from the society, transcription period and reincorporation into community (Hipple par.3). The first phase involves taking boys and girls into the forest, which is notable for ritual activities. The second phase of transition involves initiating learning activities and training boys and girls on significant skills that will help them to participate in the society. For instance, the Krobo of Ghana trains girls for three weeks on various issues such as ways of dancing and art of seduction, female behaviors in the society and the domestic core skills. However, the initial process for girls in the Senufo of Ivory Coast takes a period of seven or eight years. The third phase reincorporation into society, which is the last phase for African coming of age rituals. This stage involves varied ordeals and tests that are usually painful. The rituals may involve various physical markings on the body such as circumcisions or body scarification. Although, these rituals vary from one ethnic group to another and the ritual practices symbolize the stage of maturity, thus becoming an adult.
Circumcision is the widely ritual practices, which is common in many Africans societies. It is widely practiced frequently even in the contemporary society because it is an initiation process through which one moves from childhood to adulthood. The World health Organization (WHO) reveals that many million girls undergo female genital cutting (FGC) in the African society (Hipple. The FGC are classifies into three various types including clitoridectomy, which involves the removal of the clitoris, excision and infibulations. The clitoridectomy is one of the FCG types, which are commonly practiced in many African societies including South Africa, Sudan, Kenya, Somalia and many other African countries. However, this ritual practices pose health risks such as sexual problems, diseases infections, hemorrhage, childbearing difficulties, physical pain and psychological disturbances and many others. These practices have led to campaigning programs in order to change the practices because of the impact they have on the girl child or women in society. Moreover, globalization has contributed to cultural change in the society, but circumcision is still commonly practiced in many African contexts, though it is decreasing at a slower pace.
Work Cited
Hipple, Annika S. Coming-of-Age Rituals in Africa: Tradition & Change. Prudence
International Magazine. 2008 Vol, 1. Web. November 12, 2012 Nel, J. Initiation cycles of traditional South African cultures. South African encyclopedia. (n,d).
Web. November 12, 2012 Sian Tiley-Nel, S. Ndebele culture, traditions and rituals. South African encyclopedia. (n.d).
Web. November 12, 2012. Read More
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