Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Puberty is widely acknowledged throughout the African continent as one of the most critical moments in a person's life, along with birth, marriage, and death. This is the case because puberty marks the beginning of sexual reproductive capacity, and is therefore intimately linked with fertility and procreation, two major concerns of African religion. Given the significance of puberty, there are, throughout Africa, specific rites of passage meant to facilitate the transition from childhood to adulthood. It must be noted that rites of passage, in general, have played a major role in African communities for hundreds of years. They are well-thought-out and effective programs designed to allow a person to move with minimal stress to the next phase of his or her existence. As people go through a series of transformative processes that are a natural part of life, rites of passage, set up by the community, will assist them in ...