As such, one is only officially considered a man or woman after going through the initiation process.
Generally, the African initiation into adulthood consist of three main stages. First, the children are secluded and separated from the society. Secondly, they undergo a period of change and transformation. Lastly, the transformed adults are reincorporated in to the community. During this transition period, most candidates are subjected to painful tests and ordeals. For most African communities, pain is essential for personhood development. Some of the tests include body scarification and circumcision. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a huge percentage of girls and women who have undergone Female Genital Cutting (FGC) are from Africa.
According to the WHO, there are three classifications of FGC. These classifications include clitoridectomy, excision, and infibulation. There are various short term and long term health risks associated with FGC. These risks include hemorrhage, severe pain, infection and urinary problems among others. In addition, FGC has been blamed for a huge percentage of child mortality rates. Therefore, even though most African initiation practices are painful, FGC tends to engulf them all due to its severity and inhumane nature. As such, there have been calls to outlaw this practice in many African countries. However, despite the fact that many communities have ceased to practice FGC, a few still secretly carry out the practice.
In spite of the numerous disadvantages possessed by the practice of FGC, many African girls and women still view the practice as an important transition from childhood to adulthood. This is due to the existence of societal pressures which demand that for one to be considered a full woman, initiation was a must. As such, although most parents have an urge to stop the practice, they have the fear that their children would be denied the rights and responsibilities necessary to ...