Young woman chooses ancient ritual

Qaqamba Mancotywa shuns a lavish 21st birthday party and revives a neglected traditional initiation rite instead


Qaqamba Mancotywa could have enjoyed a lavish 21st birthday party in any city in South Africa. Her parents were ready to throw the most memorable party they could afford to celebrate this milestone in their only daughter’s life. But instead Qaqamba, a third-year university student, opted to undergo the sacred and ancient Xhosa rite of intonjane, and return to the custom, including imbeleko, that her family abandoned many decades ago.

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