Exploration of Sikenge and girls' schooling: A case of three selected schools in Mongu District
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The Sikenge rite of initiation for the Lozi girls is not adequately explored. The few studies conducted on Sikenge such as Chama (2006),and Mundumuko (1990) did not adequately give in-depth information on the perceptions of girls who went through Sikenge and their attitudes towards schooling. For instance, Mundumuko’s (1990) study indicates the decline of Sikenge. Therefore, this study sought to have an in-depth understanding of the perceptions surrounding the girls who went through Sikengeand how these girls perceived schooling by drawing a sample size of 9 initiated girls; 3 initiators, and 3 teachers in Mongu District of western Zambia. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data which were transcribed from the voice recorder and analysed using the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis method. Three themes emerged as perceptions surrounding the girls who went through Sikenge. These were: Perceptions of initiated girls about themselves; societal perceptions of the initiated girls; and the attitude of initiated girls towards schooling. Each of these themes had sub-themes beneath it. Perceptions of initiated girls about themselves had the following sub-themes: initiation brings about maturity; initiation brings about a new identity; and initiated girls look down on the uninitiated. Societal perceptions of the initiated girls included the following sub-themes: initiatedgirls are the cream of society; initiation brings about mastery of cultural values; and acquisition of sexual knowledge in readiness for marriage. The attitude of initiated girls towards schooling included the following sub-themes: school attendance during and after initiation; initiated girls’ performance at school; and initiated girls seek adult attention. The findings have supported the major argument that this dissertation had adopted, which was, the rite of Sikenge was quite complex, therefore it needed a holistic approach. In view of this, the present study had recommended that all stakeholders should work in harmony to help girls who went through initiation accomplish their formal education.