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01.09.2003 Regional News

Thirty-six undergo puberty rites at Ekumfi Abor

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Ekumfi Abor (C/R), Sept. 1, GNA - Thirty six girls between the ages of 15 and 18 have undergone puberty rites "Bra gor" and were out-doored at a durbar at Ekumfi Abor in the Central Region at the weekend. The customary rite practised by their ancestors was discarded but was re-introduced and refined to conform to modern cultural practices. Mr Kwamina Amoasi-Andoh, Chairman of the Unit Committee and a member of the Mfantseman District Assembly said the re-introduction of the rite seven years ago was to instil moral discipline in the youth and also to curb teenage pregnancy.

Mr Amoasi-Andoh said the re-introduction of the rite has helped to reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancies, adding that only four girls had become pregnant without going through the mill. He said young girls in school who were found to have began experiencing their menstrual periods are made to wait until they complete the Junior Secondary School.

This, he said is to instil fear into them to abstain from early sex to ensure that they complete at least the JSS since any girl who becomes pregnant without going through the rite is sanctioned along with her partner.

Mr Amoasi-Andoh said after going through the rites the girls are encouraged to further their education and those who cannot be supported are made to learn trades under a special scholarship package instituted by the community.

He said the practice has become an annual affair, which precedes the Akwanbo festival.

Mr Amoasi-Andoh said widows and widowers who lost their spouses during the year are also cleansed of evil spirits, a practice to get them out of the hardship they are often subjected to, adding that, this year 10 widows and a widower underwent the practice.

Nana Amoasi VI, chief of the town urged Ghanaians not to discard all old cultural practices, stressing that some are still relevant to our everyday lives and can help in curbing indiscipline in the society. Miss Christine Antor, Principal Nursing Officer (Public Health) and Mfantseman District Co-ordinator of HIV/AIDS who spoke about the disease advised the girls who have undergone the rites not to regard it as a freedom to indulge in sex.

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