Rites of Passage

According to “Wikipedia”, the free encyclopedia, a rite of passage is “a ritual that marks a change in a person’s social or sexual status” (e.g. birth, puberty, marriage, death, etc). According to Arnold van Gennep rites of passage have three phases, namely: 1) separation (where people are withdrawn from the group and begin to move from one place or status to another); 2) liminality (a transition period from one status to the next); and 3) incorporation (where the individual rejoins the society with a new status). Some common “coming of age rites” include adolescent circumcision, scarification and other painful physical and mental endurances typically involving the flow of blood in one form or another. In some societies these rites of passage can better be understood as a process rather than an event, since manhood does not come with circumcision, but rather is the first hurdle that one must overcome to reach that status. Rites of passage generally incorporate some aspect of physical combat.   Indeed, all the major Black Martial Arts discussed in my Hausa Combat Games (for which see above) are considered to be rites of passage (i.e. shadi for the Fulani, shanci for the Maguzawa, dambe for the boxers’ guild, etc.) and evidence of combat as an integral part of these rites can readily be discerned in the following submissions.

A Zulu Girl’s Rite of Passage © by Dr. Edward L. Powe
(contact: edpowe1@hotmail.com)

Ndebele Puberty Rites © by Dr. Edward L. Powe
(contact: edpowe1@hotmail.com)

An Amamfingo Circumcision Ceremony© by Dr. Edward L. Powe
(contact: edpowe1@hotmail.com)

Zulu Rites of Passage © by Dr. Edward L. Powe
contact: edpowe1@hotmail.com)

Atlanta Rites of Passage © by Kwame Asamoah
contact: balla71892@yahoo.com)

Akoben Rites of Passage © by Dr. Kamau Rashid
contact: kamau.rashid@gmail.com)

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