The indigenous tribe of the Eastern Cape is known as Xhosa and their language is known as isiXhosa, their language IsiXhosa is something I found fascinating, isiXhosa as a language is embedded in clicks, isiXhosa in its self has a click when pronounced. The Xhosa tribe clicks so much while speaking one wonders how these clicks make sense. It’s a language that is interesting and harmonious to listen to. I am not surprised I found myself many times in their midst listening to them, not that I understand what they say but the beauty of this language and how it synchronizes captivates me I drown myself in it. I must liken their language to that of the bushman in the movie ‘The gods must be crazy’…ever watched it?

Remember those moments the man and his family spoke or those moments he speaks. Lol… IsiXhosa is a language that is quite similar to it and maybe the same language as I understood the movie was shot and produced by a white South African in South Africa.

In November 2019, I attended a friend’s son’s ceremony at Eastern cape. Events like this are quite big, nationally recognized, and are held annually.

It is a ceremony where young boys who have come of age (16 and above) are initiated into adulthood. It is also a moment young boys are circumcised. Many tales have been passed down from generation to generation about what this school of initiation entails leading to this defining moment many of these young boys look forward to.

Before the initiation, young boys who are of age are summoned by their clan elders and enrolled for the initiation which usually lasts for a period of 2 to 3 weeks I presume. The ‘school of initiation’ usually takes place far away from human civilizations, young boys are exposed to harsh weather and living conditions, they are made to build their abode from scratch, hunt for food as well as go through physical and mental training including sensitizing the boys on the role of man to his family and his community. As I have stated earlier because it’s a nationally recognized tradition schools are permitted to issue exemption letters to the boys to attend this initiation.

My attendance at Eastern cape was to join the family in welcoming the newest ‘young man’ back home. The ceremony is more of a party/celebration held by families to welcome their son\sons home from the school of initiation. During this ceremony folktale songs are sung by women, young boys, and girls who are all beautifully dressed in their local attire with ear-piercing eulogies from the older men to his arrival….the passion and excitement at his grand entry is nothing compared to, the noises, the joy, the praises, the screams, the tears will make any man feel great and loved, I could understand why this moment is every young boy’s dream.

At his arrival, he is isolated and then later unveiled in the gathering of friends and family. At the gathering friends and families, each spoke fondly of the young man and their personal experiences with him, he is also rebuked where necessary, advised, and encouraged, the highlight was the presentation of gifts, this ranges from cow to tools, suitcases, clothes and mostly cash.

It was such a fun party that lasted for two days. The highlight for me was also getting a chance to taste their popular local brew drink ‘Unko boti’. Unko boti is a drink I’m familiar with way back in the 90s from a popular song sang by a popular South African musician known as Chaka chaka…. Unko boti is a highly fermented and highly intoxicating drink made from fermented dried blended maize mixed with local ingredients. You can highly smell the fermentation long before the drink touches your lips… It is neither sweet nor bitter, it’s just in between…Lol. I don’t know if that made sense. Lol. It’s just there. It’s nice, nothing bad to say about it other than drink with CAUTION.

Oluwafolakemi Asa
Asa Oluwafolakemi is a lover of life and good music. She is an interesting and volcanic person with the right blend of both extremes. You get what you deserve the ‘folake’s way’. She is a wonderful writer and an avid reader. Interestingly, this is her first attempt at putting pen to paper, she had to be coerced into writing this interesting description of a festival in South Africa where she has been living since 2019 by a good friend. She believes that this is the beginning of a wonderful career in writing.