The signficance and resilience of the chinamwali initiation ceremony of the chewa people of Katete district of Zambia in the face of social change

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Mutale, Peggy
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The study explored the significance and resilience of Chinamwali initiation ceremony of the Chewa of Katete District. In doing so, there was deep interrogation in terms of roles, morals and why Chinamwali initiation has survived in the midst of social changes in the religious cosmology of the Chewa people of Katete district. The study employed the qualitative approach and used the phenomenological design. This was chosen because of its appropriateness and effectiveness in unpacking the cultural related aspects of the group. Data collection protocol mainly involved the interview guide, focus group discussion guide and the observation checklist. The population comprised of 25 respondents of which 15 were initiators, 7 initiates and 3 headmen. Purposive sampling was used to identify initiators snowball sampling technique was used to identify initiates and extreme case was used to identify the headmen. Data was analyzed by using the emerging themes. The study established that Chinamwali initiation ceremony plays a major role in the Chewa tradition. Its major role is to transmit values and traditions of the culture from generation to generation. Chinamwali is also believed to help girls in their moral behaviour in the sense that the girls learn to respect elders and how to behave in the community. The study also confirms that Chinamwali initiation has survived in the midst of social changes because it is part of the Chewa cultural heritage and it is a way of preserving social cohesion. Despite some modifications to certain rituals like the beating of drums instead of tins, using sketches instead of drawings, Chinamwali has remained the key mode of transiting cultural values from generation to generation. The study recommends that, Chinamwali remains the main mode of value transmission from one generation to another and the Chewa religion should promote having two separate initiation ceremonies for puberty and marriage purposes. Bad practices like teaching girls at puberty on how to behave in marriage and providing a fisi (man to sleep with the girl) after initiation lessons should be discouraged through adequate sensitization. KEY WORDS: Chinamwali, significance, Chewa, social changes.
Chinamwali initiation ceremony-Chewa--Zambia