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The Transkei Coming of Age Ceremony

The Transkei tribe is a really old tribe of Southern Africa that has many traditions. One of such traditions is the Khweta circumcision that initiates boys into manhood.

This tradition is very old and all the boys must go through the ceremony before he can be accepted as a full-fledged man. If he does not, no responsible girl will want to accept his hand in marriage.
During the initiation ceremony, boys of different ages dwell in a lodge called a circumcision lodge. They stay in seclusion during the cold winter months under the wing and orders of a housemaster. During the time, they go through tough tests to assess their strength and endurance.

These traditional tests were really severe that sometimes resulted in the death of some of them. Although in recent times, the tests are not as tasking as it used to be.
During the ceremony, the young men adorn white sheepskin which they say wards off evil spirit. They paint their bodies with sandstone. Then they display in special dances while moving like bulls snorting and moving their heads in the air.

They dance to neighbouring huts while remaining masked and females keep well away.
The circumcision proper happens in the springtime and all the items used including the hut in which they dwelt is burnt. They are ceremonially flogged along the way as they are taken to the river for a cleansing bath. On the way, they must move forward without looking backwards.

There in the river, the white paint is washed off and then red clay is painted on the body which they must wear for three months before it can be washed off and are then regarded as men and then they are free to get married.

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Khweta CeremonyXhosa
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