Senior citizen attributes cultural decline to less initiation ceremonies

Zambia is a country that could once be described as rich in culture. This was greatly attributed to several traditional and initiation ceremonies which had been widely practiced. Today, with the development of the media and western influence, cultural practices are quickly fading.

“The girls are taught on how to take care of themselves as they come of age and enter into adulthood. How they are expected to behave, dress, their morals and the right conduct in the society”, – Angela Banda. Zambia is a country that could once be described as rich in culture. This was greatly attributed to several traditional and initiation ceremonies which had been widely practiced.

Today, with the development of the media and western influence, cultural practices are quickly fading.

One of the most common ceremonies, one of the tools of culture transmission, which has been practiced in Zambia for so many years is called 'Mooye' (the maiden initiation ceremony). This is a ceremony which is carried out when a girl reaches puberty. It is practiced mainly by tribes from the Northern and Eastern provinces of the country and it sees young maidens staying indoors for several weeks or months depending on the tribe.

Miss Angela Banda, a senior citizen, upholds this ceremony as an important activity to prepare maidens to become a responsible adults.

“The girls are taught on how to take care of themselves during menstruation and mostly they are taught how an adult is expected to behave, dress, morals and the right conduct expected in the society” she said.

According to Miss Angela, maidens who were previously in-disciplined are taught to employ more acceptable behavior as they get into adulthood.

Miss Angela further states that as for other tribes such as those from the eastern part of Zambia, the ceremony is used as a platform for teaching maidens how to be responsible wives and parents in future.

She says the girls are taught to stay away from men to avoid pregnancies before marriage. She says women were more responsible, respectful and mature in the past due to these ceremonies.

However, Miss Angela laments that today, the ceremony is no longer widely practiced like in the old days and it is slowly fading away and losing its value.

She adds that the ceremony has now taken a different road in the sense that the traditional activities that are supposed to be performed are no longer done but have been replaced by the western culture or western way of doing things.

Miss Angela states that the media has taken over the role of educating the children on the important aspects of life which are supposed to be played by parents.

“The media is believed to play a role of socialization in children, therefore children learn most of these aspects of life from the media and hence this has contributed to Mooye ceremony to lose its value”, she said.

As a result of all this, the societies in Zambia have experienced a decline in morals, conduct, dress code, respect and behavior in the young women.

Miss Angela also states that early marriages and teen pregnancies are also as a result of the fading of the ceremony which was once considered important in the Zambian society.

According to Miss Angela there has also been an increase in divorce cases due to the fact that newlywed couples especially young women lack the knowledge that is taught during the ceremony. Therefore, societies in Zambia are now facing a lot of challenges due to the fading of this ceremony.

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Michael Weber

Michael is supporting the team behind the Luska Star. He is a big fan of Zambia and loves to work with the local talents at UNZA.

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