The transition from childhood to adulthood among the Abagusii was marked by group initiation ceremonies that culminated in the circumcision of boys around the age of 12.
Circumcision has remained at the core of the Abagusii community’s culture over the years. Elders would use coded language to convey messages about cultural practices to boys.
And now, two MCAs are out to re-energise the process to make initiating boys into adulthood more fulfilling.
Jacob Bagaka and Michael Motume, from Masige West and Masige East wards, respectively said they want to have the young men undergo a medical procedure and then meet somewhere to be taught the local culture.
“Some aspects of our culture are no longer practised today. We want them to learn life skills as well as things like family and its importance. This is what we want to introduce to our people so we can appreciate our culture that is being eroded,” said Bagaka.
Through the programmes, the MCA said, initiates will be taken somewhere secluded to heal during which period they will be educated on their roles within the community as men.
Motume says culture makes all men gentle. “We want to teach them how to be responsible men in society.”
Kisii County Director for Culture Obino Nyambane says there is an urgent need to rekindle the initiation process among boys.
“This is where they will be taught about our culture and get prepared for adulthood. We will revisit some of the things we have forgotten as a community. We are bringing up young men who don’t understand what culture is. The community is busy with alternative rites of passage for our daughters while our boys have been left out,” Obino said.
He says modernity has forced mothers into circumcising their own sons. “They get through initiation and live under the same roof with their mothers during the healing process. This is a wrong approach and we need to change immediately.”
Those set to undergo the process will be booked into various hospitals within the two wards and their medical fees will be paid fully by the two leaders.
After their discharge from the hospitals, the beneficiaries will meet with senior citizens from the community to enlighten them on the Abagusii culture that will involve their roles going forward.