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A lot has been said about Zulu maidens affectation bare-breasted in public, but those who accept the adeptness say it is a amount of pride and not abashment – unless one has eaten of the banned fruit, so to speak.
Thembelihle Qwabe, a journalism apprentice from the University of Johannesburg, afresh took allotment in a adequate admission commemoration to alteration into adulthood and a apple of adequate affluence that includes – but not bound – to finding a adequate husband, advantageous career or accepted luck in life.
Two years ago her sister, Popi Qwabe (24) and her acquaintance Bongeka Phungula (28) were murdered in Soweto. Qwabe was begin by locals on a Friday in Naledi with a ammo wound. She had been attempt in her head. Sadly, she died on her way to Jabulani Hospital.
Her acquaintance Phungula, was begin asleep in neighbouring Tladi the afterward day.
The backward Popi Qwabe (24) and Bongeka Phungula (28)
Thembelihle says the case adjoin the man doubtable of committing the abhorrent abomination seems to accept collapsed.
For the aerated university student, the adequate commemoration to access adulthood offered a analytic and conceivably all-important way to put the agony and affliction of accident her affinity into perspective.
Rather than accord up on her own life, the abandon of cogent her pride in her anatomy has alive a new admiration to alive activity to the fullest.
Known as “Umemumelo” the commemoration conducted by the Zulus is centred about the alteration of maidens into womanhood.
Thembelihle, who has been arrive to be allotment of the Karabo Mokoena Foundation, vividly recalls the adequate action she underwent. Mokoena was murdered in 2017.
Mokoena’s affiliated lover and ancestor of three, Sandile Mantsoe, is in aegis and is continuing balloon for the annihilation of the 24-year-old, whose burnt anatomy was begin by a eyewitness in Lyndhurst in April aftermost year.
“I accept been arrive to participate in Karabo Mokoena’s canonizing academician for the killing of adolescent women,” said Thembelihle, who works part-time at Starbucks to pay for her university tuition.
Minister of Social Development Susan Shabangu will bear the address at the Soweto Theatre on 12 of May.
“That is the aforementioned day that my sister and acquaintance were murdered,” laments Thembelihle.
Now 28, her alteration to adulthood commemoration agitated out in 2016 seemed a bit late, but Thembelihle explains that things accept changed. Age and added criteria are no best carefully adhered to.
“Nowadays ‘Umemulo’ is not so austere anymore in the ambience of its rules. It is still done for at the age of 21, but an earlier beginning can still authorize to accept the abundant approved afterwards adequate ceremony. It all depends on the abridged of their parents,” said Thembelihle, who was 26 back she had her Umemulo.
Unlike the accomplished back every adolescent babe in the association had their own beads, it is now adequate to appoint such accessories for the appropriate day.
The commemoration prepares the alone mentally and emotionally, with accent on added acquaintance of self-worth, albatross and virtue. Abstemiousness is advised actual important and the abridgement of it may affect the ceremony.
Apart from actuality a virgin, the beginning is accepted to accept apparent advantage and account appear earlier bodies in her community. She is expected, through her behaviour, to win over those elders who conduct the ceremony. This may accommodate accepting to abide a “virginity test”.
In the advance up to and during the ceremony, earlier women advise initiates about sex and accompanying affairs including the blockage of HIV. Maidens are accomplished to be appreciative of their bodies – appropriately their adeptness to array bare-breasted in public.
“It is a amount of pride,” explains Thembelihle, abacus that in her admiration Umemulo is article every Zulu babe dreams of.
In her case, Thembelihle’s Umemulo was financed by her mother, Nomsa Duduzile Ngwenya, and grandmother, Mantshangase. The commemoration was captivated at her village, Jozini, in KwaZulu-Natal.
The commemoration was meant to booty abode at her father’s home, but because he did not accession her as a child, it took abode at her grandmother’s abode in the village.
A spear, which can be bought or made, is acclimated as a attribute to allure the maiden’s benevolent and affectionate families alike area the parents are no longer together.
The advancing of age commemoration with a blow of modernisation
The maiden’s mother’s ancestors accepts the allurement by advancing a meal and all-around the beginning and added girls from the community that accompany her on the day. Invitations in the anatomy of spears are exchanged to acquiesce the commemoration to go advanced with their blessing.
Parents acquire pride for adopting their daughters in an cocked address and the commemoration is an befalling for them to accomplish a account to the association about their adequate parenting skills.
On the day of the ceremony, parents abide afraid moments as their daughters are put through adequate tests of chastity, that accommodate the mystical cow placenta test.
“Traditionally, girls are asked to abrasion a afresh removed placenta of a cow about their necks. If it splits at any time during the ceremony, the acceptance is that the being cutting it has affianced in extramarital sex,” explained Thembelihle.
Two women apple-pie the belly of a cow and abolish the placenta, which is to be beat about the close by a beginning in the ceremony
She said there are after-effects for such an anomaly.
“If it splits the commemoration stops because the old ladies alarm you out. You accept to pay a accomplished to the old women that accompany you for them to buy a dupe to absolve the maidens that accompany you,” said Thembelihle.
She said the sanction depends on one’s parents and how carefully they chase cultural practices. “If a beginning fails the virginity analysis the accomplished association shares the aghast and the abaft being is advised like a complete fraudster.”
Asked if she would accept any advisedly about accepting her photographs of her during the Umemulo published, Thembelihle says she is absolutely adequate and appreciative to appearance off her adeptness to the world.
A beginning wears a cow placenta about her close and chest. PHOTO: Thembelihle Qwabe/ANA
“These images ascertain who I am as a Zulu woman. I am appreciative of who I am and who I accept become because of this experience,” she said.
Thembelihle additionally batten blithely of addition adequate Zulu commemoration – the reed dance.
Every year in September, adolescent women appear a reed ball captivated in a apple alleged Kwa-Nongoma at Enyokeni, KwaZulu-Natal, area the Zulu baron Goodwill Zwlithini resides.
Hundreds of bare-breasted maidens are paraded afore the polygamous baron and in some instances, he chooses a new wife from the group. Added men from the aristocratic ancestors can additionally accept maidens for themselves during the reed dance.
“The Maidens do accept a best if they appetite to ally the baron or not. No one is anytime forced,” Thembelihle said.
Those who participate in the reed ball are accustomed certificates, or a clothes for those who accept accomplished 21.
“We are boring accident the acceptation abaft the adorableness of this commemoration … this is a adequate way of chain bodies and teaching adolescent women how to conduct themselves in life. How to adulation and acknowledge who they are by demography pride in their bodies,” said Thembelihle of her culture.
– African News Agency (ANA)
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