Kumukanda by Kayo Chingonyi and Sean Graham

Poet: , | Nationality: , | Filmmaker:

Coming-of-age rituals are at the center of this powerful, uniquely collaborative poetry dance film from director Fiona Melville and producer/creative director Nathalie Teitler for the Dancing Words project, featuring poet/dancer Kayo Chingonyi, poet/dancer/choreographer Sean Graham, and a composition by Gemma Weekes (who is also an accomplished British writer).

According to the Wikipedia page on the Lovale/Luvale people of Zambia and Angola,

In Zambia the Luvale people hold the ‘Makishi festival’ to mark the end of the ‘kumukanda’ (or ‘initiation’). Every 5 years or so, boys from the same age group (young teenagers) are taken into the bush for 1–2 months where they undergo several rites of passage into manhood. These involve learning certain survival skills, learning about women and how to be a good husband, learning about fatherhood, and also they are circumcised. The Luvale consider uncircumcised men to be dirty or unhygienic. It is said that in some very rural areas where the kumukanda is maintained in its strictest traditional sense that if a woman is to pass by the boy’s ‘bushcamp’ whilst they are undergoing kumukanda then she must be punished, even killed. To celebrate the boys’ completion of the kumukanda the Makishi festival welcomes them back to the village as men.

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