Chisungu: A Girl's Initiation Ceremony Among the Bemba of Zambia
While there have been a number of descriptions and interpretations of boys' initiation rituals, Audrey Richards' classic study of initiation rites among the Bemba remains one of the few studies to deal in detail with the initiation of girls into adult life.
Dr. Richards observed the entire chisungu or female initiation rite, an almost continuous series of complex ceremonies lasting for a month. Her detailed description of the elements of the ritual, and her analysis of it in terms of the culture of matrilineal society, have made this a classic ethnographic and theoretical text. Celebrating the attainment of sexual and social maturity, the puberty rituals reflect tribal attitudes to sex, fertility, marriage, and the rearing of children. We see how women's ceremonies portray and try to enforce the social obligations of marriage and the setting up of the kinship group, and the conflicts of interest that are involved.
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A. R. Radcliffe-Brown Ancestor worship ancestors ancestral spirits Angola anthropologists associated banacimbusa banacisungu Bantu beer behaviour Bemba Bemba girls Bemba society Bemba women blessings bride bridegroom brother bush cam wood carried cere Cewa chief child chisungu ceremony chisungu rite Cibale clan cooked crocodile culture dance descent described duty expressed father father's sister fertility figurines fire garden girl's give given hands head helpers honour husband initiation ceremonies initiation hut intercourse Kaonde kinship lineage lion look Lunda magic Makonde marriage married matrilineal mbusa mimes mony mother mwenge nacimbusa Nangoshye Ngoni Nkonde North-Eastern Rhodesia Northern Rhodesia nubility Nyanja old days older women performed porridge pottery emblems puberty puberty rites puberty ritual represent Rhodesia ritual role round senior singing social song structure Subsequent Bemba interpretation sung symbols taboos teach the girl tree tribes uxorilocal uxorilocal marriage village wife woman young
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