The effects of Nkolola initiation ceremony on women in Southern province : A case study of Monze District

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Maambo, Mary
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Initiation ceremonies are normally a means of passing on of the society's culture from the old to the young generation. It has been observed that during initiation, the girl is instructed by some elderly women who are vested in the culture of the society. The emphasis is on domestic and agricultural duties, respect for elders and her future husband, respect for the future husband's clan members, sexual and food taboos. The girl is also taught how to run a home.The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of the Tonga people's Nkolola initiation rite on women's behaviour in Monze District of Southern Province of Zambia.The sample included one hundred female respondents - fifty initiated women and fifty initiators. Primary data were collected through two sets of interviews - one for initiators (trainers) and another for initiated women. Secondary data were collected from literature on initiation rites. The data collected through the interviews were analyzed using SPSS (Statistical Package of Social Sciences) and qualitative methods by means of themes. The study showed that Nkolola has influence on women's behaviour. Both initiators and initiated women stated that initiated women are taught how to behave well towards others, especially to elderly people; they tended to portray a in behaviour which is acceptable in the traditional society unlike the women who were not initiated. The initiated women are also seen to have self control in matters of sexual relationships. Some respondents said that women who are not initiated are likely to fall prey to early pregnancies when they involve themselves in sexual relationships because they have no knowledge of when they are near to have their ovulation.On the other hand, the study revealed that women who went through Nkolola initiation rites are vulnerable to prostitution. It was stated that because of the great desire these initiated women had to experiment what they were taught during the ceremony, they ended up having more than one sexual partner which they said was not the case with the women who were not initiated.It was concluded that Nkolola initiation ceremony should be continued, but certain modifications should be made. One of the major modifications was to teach the skills in stages. For example, at puberty girls should only be taught about hygiene, cleanliness and self-discipline. Later on when they were about to get married, they could be taught about marriage and all the practices that go with it, like caring for the husband in general.
Initiation Rites , Rites and Ceremonies