The Rites of Passage as an Important Part of the African Culture

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The African movement of individuals through childhood unlike the western societies is not marked by arbitrary fixed ages but by rites of passage that lack chronological specificity as African societies deem childhood as a period of training as evidenced by the persistent demands of adults on children to perform arduous tasks. Most African societies believe that, through undergoing this training with the children, they will be toughening them in preparation for their entry into adulthood pointing out how children in African societies do not know the taste of the joys of childhood or how to be free and play around as a child as they already begin to be trained when they are still young by their caretakers who believe in their set of principle that govern their cultures, Nhenga-Chakarisa, T. C. (2010).

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Linked to the above, the African conception of childhood depends to a very larger extent upon the social, economic and cultural dynamics of a given society as it is a culture which already started way back in the pre-colonial era where childhood was marked by factors that had more to do with biology or physical development for example when a girl starts growing breasts in African societies she is believed to be an adult and to then begin performing arduous tasks, the purpose for which a definition of childhood or adulthood was sought and status rather than with the number of years a person has lived to be finally regarded as an adult. This therefore reviews how African society mark the end of childhood through rites of passage that lack chronological specificity as they do not consider whether the child is not yet of age to be regarded as an adult but place their focus on the physical development of the child hence depriving the rights of the child to enjoy his or her days of childhood.

Furthermore, African societies mark the end of childhood through a process called separation that is when a man is married and when that is not fulfilled ,the man will be still regarded as a child despite how grown he has become and he would not attain adulthood .According to the International Journal of Education and Research states that, ‘…for African people marriage is a requirement from the corporate society and a focus of existence which is celebrated by the society thereby marking the end of childhood through that marriage.’ This clearly shows how the African society mark the end of childhood through rites of passage that lack chronological specificity as they just regard someone married as an adult regardless to how many years they have lived.

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