Accepted paper:

Female initiation rite of the Avatime and the Ganda peoples: yesterday and today.


Alina Lapushkina (Institute for African Studies)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyzes how Ablebe ("mature pineapple") was changed to Kusakokor ("a given cloth") in Avatime female initiation culture and compares with the Ganda Okukyalira ensiko ("visiting the bush") through the prism of changing female gender identity.

Paper long abstract:

According to African demographers and sociologists, adolescents are becoming the most vulnerable part of the society in Africa. They are increasingly exposed to opposing tendencies: tradition and modernization, involvement in the adult life of parents and the need to combine it with responsibilities in school, preserving authentic beliefs and participating in the religious life of a local church or mosque, etc. Attitudes toward puberty rites and the form of their realisation are markers of the transformation of society and the change of the gender paradigm. In the pre-colonial time, it was the rite of passage that served as the main institution of socialisation, but since colonial times, identity issues have become more complex. Using the examples of the Avatime and Ganda peoples in our study we describe and analyse the transformation of attitudes towards the female puberty rite, today's motivation, new spaces for performing and the forms of its conduct.

panel Anth37
Ritual as performance space