Hear My True Story

Imbalu Cultural Festival ( Gishu people in Uganda: Boys are Circumcised to become Men.)

March 29, 2022 Otako Season 2 Episode 3
Hear My True Story
Imbalu Cultural Festival ( Gishu people in Uganda: Boys are Circumcised to become Men.)
Show Notes

In this episode, Sharon Khaitsa, adult educator and social worker, a Mugisu from Mbale in eastern Uganda, shares her personal story and experience of her traditional ceremony where boys become men after circumcision, in an initiation ceremony known as the "Imbalu Festival." The Imbalu festival is one of the most eagerly awaited traditional ceremonies in Bugisu, which takes place only in the "even years".

Every two years, on even-numbered days, hundreds of boys, usually in their late teens to early 20s, are circumcised in Mutoto as part of the obligatory Imbalu ritual, and the ceremony begins with a series of visits to revered traditional sites such as caves, swamps, hills and mud. Traditionally, initiates are involved in various activities before facing the knife. Those who wish to be circumcised must announce their intention in May or June in preparation for August, when the ceremony usually takes place. On the day of the ceremony, the initiates should have already been taken to the sacred marshes and mud, where they will be smeared with clay. Then they are taken to their mother's clan and prepared for the circumcision.

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Hear My True Story Kampala is a collaborative project between the Hear My True Story podcast and Omuti Kreativ, an organization in Uganda. As part of the Hear My True Story Kampala project, we feature True Stories and Conversations about Real Life Experiences with Non-storytellers and Storytellers from Uganda.

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