“People think that I am a pushover but I dare anyone to cross me” – Emtee speaks on Xhosa initiation

A Xhosa boy who has undergone an initiation ceremony sits inside a hut near Qunu. Xhosa initiation ceremonies mark the transition from boyhood to manhood. (Carl De Souza, AFP)

Traditional circumcision and initiation into manhood, is an ancient initiation rite practised by the amaXhosa. The ritual is traditionally intended as a teaching institution, to prepare young males for the responsibilities of manhood.

“People thought I was weak and that I was soft. I had to show them I wasn’t soft. I had a point to prove. So‚ I went to my dad‚ sat him down‚ and told him that I wanted to go to initiation school. My relatives‚ grandfathers and great grandfathers had all done it and I wasn’t any different. I knew it was what I needed to do. I needed to be independent. I came out more fierce.”

Picture credit: DARRYL HAMMOND.

According to Wikipedia, initiates are called abakhwetha in isiXhosa: aba means a group, and kwetha means to learn.

Emtee also went further to say that the ceremony was not a struggle for him because he had made the decision to show everyone how tough he was.

“It made me who I am today. It is the same as with my music‚ people think that I am a pushover but I dare anyone to cross me‚” he added.

This and more he told TshisaLIVE during an interview concluding with that because he was raised in the city‚ he believed that people thought he would not be tough enough to withstand the painful circumcision ceremony.

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