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Initiation Ceremonies

Initiation ceremonies (Transitional rites) - These are done only in the Central and Southern parts of the country and are known by different names depending on where they occur. Most of these ceremonies occur soon after harvest since a lot of feasting takes place which requires a lot of food. Chiefs, politicians and other leaders in the society are usually invited. Activities include erecting shacks/shelters for the boys, circumcision, and counseling. Anamkungwi or senior women act as counselors or instructors for the young girls who receive instructions on womanhood and as a result they turn into succulent young women ready for adulthood. Boys are also prepared for adulthood by angaliba (Mangochi), male counselors. Like the Gule Wamkulu (Chisamba) is for girls who have reached puberty. Invitation – is restricted to elderly women only not everyone is allowed to watch when the dance is in performance.

The importance of the initiation ceremonies is to pass on values to young members of the society (the initiates) so that they grow up into young responsible adults when they start families of their own. Young women are given advice on simple rules of the society i.e. respect for elders and good manners in general.


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