File: An 11 year old girl with a traditional instructor during an initiation ceremony organised by the Kunda people of Mfuwe in eastern province. This was in Ndola’s Chifubu township.

In the internet world we are in , abolishing traditional activities such as initiation ceremonies for boys and girls in order to combat teen pregnancies and early marriages doesn’t make any sense. It is a waste of time and energy.

I am referring to traditional leaders in Zambia, who have opted to get rid of some traditional norms and culture in their determination to combat teen pregnancies and early marriages. I am very surprised to see that the government welcomes the development and say that the move taken by the chiefs will largely help bring to an end early marriages and pregnancies. Yes, somehow the move sounds good but reflecting on it is ignorance. What about the internet? Is the internet going to be banned in the region? As far as I know, teens learn more from the internet than from anywhere else.

People, teen pregnancies and early marriages can only be dealt effectively by educating a child. Making sure that every child has access to quality education. That is what the world is encouraging us to do. It is the reason why th UN adopted 3rd resolution on child, early, and forced marriage.

Zambian President Edgar Lungu said and I quote “Ending child marriage by 2030 will require a range of action, including making sure girls have access to quality education, legal reforms and changing traditional harmful practices.” Very powerful point. I don’t think he meant geting rid of initiation ceremonies. I also don’t believe the UN would want to see GULE WAMUKULU gone. Let educate a child.

As Gender Minister Elizabeth Phiri observed, children are prone to be exposed to different activities as they report to school due to distances between communities and schools. So, instead of trying to please the government of the day, chiefs can use this opportunity to demand more secondary schools in their chiefdoms. At least one college in every chiefdom. It is not about politics but development.

How many secondary schools do you have in your chiefdom? If not enough, is time to ask for more. Is there a college and hospital in your chiefdom? If no, start to demand one. Are there some youth empowerment programs in your chiefdom? If no, abolishing initiation ceremonies will not help.

Chiefs and other traditional leaders, every thing has advantages and disadvantages and facing the reality is a way to go. If there is nothing wrong with discussing sex with teens in an effort to combat HIV and AIDs in your areas, there is nothing wrong with preserving initiation ceremonies.

We must find a way to live with our ceremonies. I therefore urge the Chewa Chiefs of Eastern Province to reverse their decision of abolishing initiation ceremonies for girls under the age of 18 years and initiation of boys into GULE WAMUKULU group.

By Venus N Msyani
Concerned citizen in the diaspora.

[Read 3,699 times, 2 reads today]
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13 COMMENTS

  1. How much is mealie meal today?

    Is the economy performing well under PF bandits?

    How much is a bag of charcoal amid claims to climate change?

    The Skeleton Key
    ~206~

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    • This year the eastern Chiefs banned bear breasts at their ceremonies…..What happened later.? Top Government officials shunned the Ncwala but instead flew to Swailand to see the breasts of the Swazi girls. I bet you. Ncwala is finished. You deny us the site of Ngoni breats>> We will go to where it all started from …..Durban, Swaziland.

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    • This article should be read by all traditional leaders and politicians. Their inferiority complexes are destroying our nation
      Their moves don’t sound good. They are just reflecting ignorance.

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  2. Time for change
    Why should people in a resource-rich country live like beggars
    This government has expired
    Use social media to mobilize people
    You hove our backing here in Europe

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  3. Getting rid of culture is more an inferiority complex, ignorance and thinking that everything white is better than ours. Black people in America our fighting day and night to preserve black culture and show a white man how proud they are of their ancestors but the people in Africa are embracing the white culture. It’s a shame. These chiefs should think, and not be emotional.

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  4. My understanding of the initiation ceremony, is that, having undergone ‘life skills’ training, a child becomes an adult…at least in thought, if not age – and a celebration is held; it’s valuable culture…right? But, some of the training could be deemed too explicit for under 18s.

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    • very true. the author of the article has no idea what is taught to teenagers. Comparing internet that is not obligatory to a ceremony that is is a worst analogy ever.

      why should out cultures be of ancient things. we too are progressive. our cultures aren’t dead and any thing alive grows and changes.

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    • What are ancient things and who told you to identify your culture as ancient? What is wrong with practicing stuff from ancient times? Yes who told you to identify your culture as bad, your flat nose as ugly, your thick lips as unattractive? Go and Read the answer from Malcom X. After that I hope you will also have some depth in your learning and observation of the world around you.
      To help you I will give you an example, The Europeans have been wearing neckties for centuries. You ignore that ancientness and when you copy them you call it modern style. All because you have been forced to wear those neckties so as to look as modern as the European. Who is being ancient?

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    • @CK you are really unable to grasp intelligent reasoning. Ukusendapo ubwafufu is what you ve done. The man’s message says it you don’t teach the kids in a ceremony they will look for the available information on the internet and apply it. The internet has that information without any authority but without a respectable alternative it will become the sole teacher

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  5. The initiation training for girls includes preparation for marriage. In the past, when girls were married off soon after the initiation ceremony, unplanned pregnancies did not arise.

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  6. Nowadays though, young girls are not marrying soon after initiation, but continuing in education..and on occasion getting involved in unprotected sex. I think moving the initiation training to 18yrs is sensible and to be commended. There should also be great emphasis on sex education – protect yourself from unwanted pregnancy.

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  7. True indeed, banning initiation ceremonies is not the way to reduce teen pregnancy and early marriages. In fact these ceremonies teach our young ones how to morally behave in our societies. Thats why today we have I’ll mannered people because of shuning away from traditional ceremonies

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  8. The ceremonies need only ALTERING so that they concentrate on empowering young women and Men to understand their bodies and all the legal rights that come with their ownership to them. Not everything African is wrong.

    Even in the West they have initiation rights at colleges and secret societies. There are other gatherings like the Iron Man, Burning Man, etc. Initiations can be community building.

    A change on the focal point is what needs looking at. In fact they can be changed to become sex education with a vocal point on the women’s rights to control their body rather than for marriage.

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