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26.02.2009 General News

Queenmother reintroduces puberty rites

By myjoyonline

At Enyan Abowenam, a small town in the Central Region, girls who experience their first menstruation must go to the palace to see the queen mother.

This follows the decision of the queenmother, Nana Badu, to reintroduce puberty rites, one of the long-forgotten customs of her people.

In the past the rituals were an important rite of passage which signalled a girl's transition to womanhood.

As part of the practice, the girls were kept in hiding and taught the essence and virtues of womanhood.

Nana Badu said failure to perform puberty rites has contributed to immorality in the society.

She has instructed that her subjects start performing the rites and urged other traditional rulers to follow her example.

“We the traditional rulers want the puberty rites to come on because of the teenage pregnancy and the HIV/AIDS,” she told Joy FM's Seth Kwame Boateng.

She dismissed assertions that Ghanaians now live in an age and time which has moved past the practice she seeks to reintroduce, insisting, “it will help.”

The introduction of the custom means girls who engage in pre-marital sex would face punishment, to be determined by the queenmother and a host of elderly women in the town.

For girls in the town who have reached puberty, the rule is heading for the palace with two eggs and a tuber of yam in hand.

Story by Fiifi Koomson