For the Xhosa males, their circumcision is only the first step of the ordeal to achieve manhood. After the actual operation, they begin a 10-day period of healing and additional trials. This includes many deprivations including being fed a coarse and half-cooked porridge meant to symbolize their "half-cooked" status as not-yet-men.
After the healing period, there is a community feast, but these new men must continue to remain separated from their friends, family, and community for another two or three months (although today that time frame is often shortened because of the demands of modern life). Eventually they return to the village as men, with full rights, privileges, and adult male responsibilities. I found it interesting that, as part of their return, the initiation lodge where the circumcisions took place is burned and their boyish past symbolically goes up in smoke.. . . being fed a coarse and half-cooked porridge is meant
to symbolize their "half-cooked" status as not-yet-men.
|Tribal Ritual in southern Zimbabwe|
Dr. Robert Bailey, an epidemiologist at the University of Illinois, claims the most progress is being made in Kenya, where some 330,000 men have had the procedure. "We're hacking away at it every month," Dr. Baily is quoted as saying. "Those foreskins are flying."
In spite of the pain and discomfort of ritual circumcision, it appears it is indeed very important for millions of men. In addition to being a component of the ancient and sacred work of making men out of boys, "flying foreskins" are saving lives.
LIKE: If you enjoy this blog, please click the "Like" button below to support the Man-Making Facebook page!
TWEET: Sent this post along to your friends or follow me on Twitter!
SUBSCRIBE: If you're not yet a subscriber to the Man-Making Blog, and you'd like to receive these posts by email 3-4 times a month, go to this link for a free subscription.