Aspects of male circumcision in sub-equatorial African culture history

J Marck
1997 Health Transition Review  
The contemporary cultural context of male circumcision among the Bantu-speaking people of sub-Saharan Africa is variable and often transformed among groups who continue the practice. Longstanding tradition, however, was to toughen, train, and initiate male adolescents into warrior status. The normal social context of circumcision was in the adolescent rites of passage known as initiation schools, highly associated with age-grades, age ranked male cohorts whose membership was defined by
more » ... defined by participation in the initiation schools in the same year. The linguistic evidence suggests that these schools and circumcision are very ancient institutions and practices among the Bantu. Bantu groups which do not circumcise males have therefore abandoned a once more widespread practice and belong to certain contiguous linguistic groups and their neighbors from among bordering Bantu subgroups. Almost all groups which have abandoned male circumcision have also abandoned initiation schools and age-grades, major components of traditional culture.
pmid:10173099 fatcat:t4p2dgc22bfaledbq7ioyyumj4