The Mafulu eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 349 pages of information about The Mafulu.

The ceremony in the case of a chief’s child seems to be the same as that for other children, the platform business of the perineal band ceremony being apparently omitted in this case.

If the ceremony is performed at a big feast, the variations are substantially similar to those of the perineal band ceremony; and in particular the placing of the child on the pig, and the running with it to the emone, are postponed to a later date.

The observations as to the subsequent purification in connection with the perineal band ceremony apply to this ceremony also.

It will be noticed that girls are included in this admission to the emone.  When a girl has undergone the admission ceremony she has free entry into the emone—­except that she must not sleep there—­until she formally receives her perineal band, upon which her permission to enter the emone ceases.

Ceremony Conferring Right to Use Drum and Dance.

This ceremony also applies to both boys and girls; but I omitted to ascertain the age at which it usually occurs.  It is similar to the perineal band ceremony, except that the child is dressed in dance ornaments (though not the fullest formal dance ornaments), until we reach the stage of standing on the pig, and putting on of the feather ornament, which is omitted; and, instead of it, the person who has bought the pig places the child upon it, and then for a short time beats a drum, after which he gives the drum to the child, who also beats it, and then returns it to him.

I cannot say whether in this case there is any variation of the ceremony as regards a chief’s child; but I do not think there is.

Here again I believe that, when the ceremony takes place at a big feast, the variations are similar to those above described, and in particular the standing on the pig and drum-beating are postponed.

The observations as to the subsequent purification in connection with the perineal band ceremony apply to this one also.

Ceremony on Devolution of Chieftainship

When chieftainship devolves on the death of a chief to his successor, there is no ceremony connected with the devolution. [77]

When a chief resigns in his lifetime, however, there is a ceremony.  There does not appear to be a special dance and feast connected with this, it being always tacked on to some other ceremony or group of ceremonies.  This particular ceremony does not, in fact, begin until after the pig-killing.  The retiring chief will have provided one or more pigs for the purpose of his ceremony, and these will have been killed with the others.  He addresses the people and tells them that he is giving up his office and transferring it to his successor; but in doing so he says nothing about that successor’s title to succeed, that being always known and recognised.  He then sits on his pig, and hands to his successor

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The Mafulu from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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