BAGISU CIRCUMCISION CEREMONY (THE IMBALU) – UGANDA SAFARI News
Bagisu – one of Uganda’s Bantu tribes inhabit the sunset gradients of Elgon Mountain one of Uganda safari destinations. Their ancestral origins date back to 500 years ago when Masaba their forefather emerged from caves of the Elgon Mountain locally known as Mount Masaba as a result of this. It is believed that Masaba dwells in the upper slopes of the Mountain where he conducts his assemblies with lower divines – a frightening thing that can be compared to an encounter with Mudange Cliff while hiking safaris on the same Mountain. The Bagisu community is one of those communities in Uganda without central authority in form of Kingdoms thus leadership is on clan basis with a non-hereditary chief elected by a council of elders. Holding that aside, the Bagisu people are well known for their Imbalu circumcision ceremony a tourist product worth visiting while on Uganda safari. This practice date back to the tale that a certain Mugisu man was summoned by the council of elders because of stealing other men’s wives and then he was subjected to circumcision as a punishment and preventive action only to yield nothing as he became more powerful and admirable to women than ever before. The counterparts retaliated by circumcising themselves so as to compete favorably. However other folks have it that the practice arose through contact with the adjacent Kalenjin of western Kenya who had similar tradition.
Whatever the origin, the Imbalu circumcision ceremony held during even years is personal rite of passage to man hood among the Bagisu. The year for initiation is determined by the person himself and not necessarily a council of elders or a convention. The age range between 16 and 26 is acceptable. Those who elect to be circumcised in any given year announce their intention in May or June and spend the next few months preparing for it. The key observable aspect of the arrangements involve the initiate, decorated in plantain fronds or animal skins and ash plastered face and escorted by a crew of encouraging friends marching and dancing via the streets to connect to his close relatives and seek their approval. The function is conducted in august thus can be incorporated in your Uganda safari tour and usually occurs before 10:00am.
Regardless of other African areas where circumcision is carried out indoors with few associates in presence, the Bagisu declared it a public function even allowing tourists to attend. The operation lasts one hour in which the circumciser makes three bold cuts to remove the foreskin before the whistle is brown to mark the exercise completion. The initiate rises his hands victoriously, dancing, proudly exhibiting his blooded fellow to an ululating crowd. Crying during the process would mean cowardice thus forbidden. He is then led to the quiet place seated and wrapped in a cloth before bleeding ceases. He is continued to the fathers home and hand fed for three consecutive days before he is ritually washed and permitted to eat with own hands marking the end of the ritual. This is one of those last amazing experiences that can still authentically be traced on the African continent thus considering it when planning for your safari to Uganda is the ideal way possible.
Prime Uganda safaris & Tours Ltd safari News.
by Simon peter