The Importance of Artefacts Used During Nkolola Traditional Ceremony among the Tonga People of Magoye District: An African Oral Literature Perspective
The Importance of Artefacts Used During Nkolola Traditional Ceremony among the Tonga People of Magoye District: An African Oral Literature Perspective
University Of Zambia
Even if it is claimed that human beings are identified by their culture and cultural practices, it is unclear to whether some tribal groups in Zambia still appreciate their culture and cultural practices following the invasion of Christianity and Western education. Therefore, it is in this line of thought that this article draws on a study which focuses on the relevance of artefacts that are used during Nkolola Traditional Ceremony of Tonga People of Magoye District of Southern Province. The study explored various artefacts used among the Tonga speaking people of Southern Province and their general significance to the initiates and the community as a whole. The study sought to address the questions: To what extent do Tonga speaking people appreciate and use the artefacts during initiation ceremony? What role do artefacts play in marriage? The study only used qualitative methods of data collection. The data was analysed thematically after verbatim transcription. The findings were that artefacts transmit a very important message to the initiates. More importantly, the knowledge inculcated into the initiates as a consequence of these artefacts improves their lives and their understanding of the world. The study also reveals that artefacts define and shape human life. The study also reveals that artefacts are cardinal elements in the production and reproduction of social relations and cultural persons. The study also reveals that artefacts like beads are so educative as they teach women how to maintain hygiene and entertain their husbands. When beads are worn as jewellery, they improve the beauty of women which consequently leads to sexual satisfaction. Lastly, the study reveals that artefacts are conveyers of moral messages to the initiates as they are taught to read signs from these artefacts. The study concludes that artefacts are very much appreciated among the Tonga people of Magoye District in Southern Province, though following the notion of globalisation which has been accompanied by religion and new innovations in technology; their usage is slowly diminishing among the current generation.
Key words: Artefact, Nkolola tradition, Tonga people, African Oral Literature
This article is drawn from a study conducted on the importance of Artefacts used during Nkolola Traditional Ceremony among the Tonga people of Magoye District. The article highlights the historical background, purpose of the study and the statement of the problem. The study further hints on the methodology used in the data collections, results of the study, discussion of the findings and conclusions drawn from the findings of the study.
2.3 Historical background of Artefacts used during Nkolola Traditional Ceremony among the Tonga speaking people.
The knowledge on the artefacts used during the Nkolola traditional ceremony among the Tonga speaking people cannot be fully understood without tracing the areas the Tonga speaking people occupy. The implication is that the Tonga- speaking people’s cultural practices can be best understood in connection with areas they occupy. According to Chidwayi (2009: 1-11) and Mwiinga (n.d) the Tonga Speaking people can be categorized into five groups.
- The We (Bawe): These occupy the Zambezi valley of Southern Province in Gwembe, Sinazongwe, Siavonga and Kalomo District on the South Eastern part of the province.
- The plateau Tonga: These occupy the plateau of Southern Province which comprises of Mazabuka and Monze districts.
- The Ila: The Ila people occupy the Kafue plains ranging from Namwala District to Monze District and parts of Choma and Mumbwa districts. In short, they occupy the Western part of Southern province.
- The Central Tonga: These are Balenje/Bena Bukuni/Basala. Bena- Mukuni popularly known as Balenje occupies parts of Chibombo, Mumbwa and Kabwe Districts of Central Province. Basala are situated in Mumbwa District.
- Southern Tonga: These are Baleya or Toka Leya and are situated in part of Kalomo, Livingstone, and Kazungula Districts. They can also be called Bena–Mukuni as both Lenjes and Toka–Leyas have their chiefs known as Mukuni.
The Nkolola initiation ceremony is practiced among the Tonga speaking people accompanied by the artefacts used by the initiates. These artefacts are symbolic and very important among the Tonga community especially among girls who undergo the three phases of rites of passage namely; separation (seclusions), marginal (luminal), and the phase of aggregation (graduation). These phases are well elaborated by Racing (2001:129) quoting Turner (1967) as follows:
“The first phase, the separation, comprises the symbolic behaviour signifying the detachment from an earlier phases in the social community or structure . During the intervening phase, the marginal period, which Turner (1967:73) calls the luminal phase, the characteristics of the ritual subject or initiate are ambiguous ; the initiate passes through a cultural realm that has none of the attribute of the past or the coming state. In the third phase, the aggregation, the passage is consummated. The individual or ritual subject is in a relatively stable state once more and, by virtue of this, has rights and obligation, vis-à-vis others of a clearly, defined and structured type. The initiate is accepted and expected to behave according to customary norms and ethical standards.”
2.4 Brief history on Nkolola
A brief history will be necessary as it will highlight the transition of the Nkolola ceremony from the past to the present times by drawing comparisons and contrasts between what used to happen in the past and what has been happening in recent times. To start with the preparation of the initiate, it is worthy to mention that a girl passed through several stages before she became a woman in ancient Tonga culture. Girls had to undergo many stages to be fully recognised as mature. Ordinarily, with the onset of mature breasts, the Tonga tradition had to exert its impact. In this case, the woman whose breasts had grown had to have six of her teeth knocked out. Here it is worth stating that, the justification of knocking out of these teeth is not yet established with certainty. However, it could have been done probably for purposes of beauty and identification. The emphasis lay on the fact that a girl had to have her teeth removed before breasts protruded. Therefore, in ancient Tonga culture, the onus of the elderly in society, among other things, was to gauge the age of the girls based on the size of the breasts. It was cardinal that, the girls had their teeth removed before they menstruated. It was a taboo for girls to menstruate before having her teeth removed though the consequences of the taboo has not been established yet.
As the practices mentioned above were taking place, the person in question was no longer considered as a girl anymore. She was now a woman; though still not yet initiated. She was incomplete. Completeness would come by passing through all the stages of Nkolola. Therefore, immediately the teeth were removed, the subject was given instructions about how to become a woman. She was also taught many traditionally feminine tasks such as cooking, weaving of baskets as well as moulding of pots. It should be mentioned that the instructions that the subject was receiving is akin to full time education in modern times. The girls were taught how to cook through a school called Mantoombwa. In this school, girls could erect shelters for cooking various recipes such as okra, spirosa, and other various vegetables. Girls who could cook well were praised even after graduation.
On the contrary, girls who were careless at cooking at this school were considered to be bad cooks even after graduation. Girls would divide amongst themselves and pretend to be husbands and wives. They could apportion roles such as mothers, how to look after children and how to welcome visitors. In some cases, boys and not men would be allowed to attend these performances and witness how girls cooked; the boys could even eat what those girls cooked. Girls also practiced how to brew traditional alcoholic beverages. Elderly women and mothers to these girls could be in attendance and monitor how these girls cooked and fed the people around. Eventually, by the completion of the stage, girls would have learnt, to some appreciable degree, how to look after children; welcome visitors; and how to share what they cooked. This was the period to prepare for puberty and initiation.
With regard to menstruation (Kuyaluka), it is worthy to note that, in the ancient Tonga culture, as was mentioned above, it was a taboo for a girl to menstruate before having her upper six teeth removed. In addition, a girl was not allowed to menstruate in bed in those days when Tonga land upheld its customs with highest esteem, as it was a taboo. Therefore, it was a duty of the mothers to the girls to ensure that they wake the girls up as early as possible to avoid them menstruating in bed. A girl who had a tendency to oversleep was often ridiculed and despised. Some women would gossip by saying “that girl over sleeps, she may menstruate in bed. Why does she sleep like that? A girl with breasts sleeping like that, wake up, wake up”.
It is important to point out that, the day when the girl had menstruated was characterized by celebration in the village especially from the mother’s side. Numerous songs were sung and most of these songs were comprised of sarcasm and insults. A lot of instruments were played such as drums, ‘ngoma’ during the night. In the morning, the women would convene to celebrate the initiate who has menstruated. They would continue playing instruments. When women came to celebrate, they did not come empty handed. They also brought food with them and this was the period of initiating the girl who had menstruated.
With regard to the process of initiating a girl (Kuvwundika Kamwale), it should be noted that, this came after the girl has had her first menstruation. At this point, the girl was no longer considered as such but as a lady. She was and still is called ‘Kamwale’ the initiate. In those ancient times, the initiates would be secluded from the public for five to six months to facilitate initiation. They were taught, fed and their bodies would grow and their skins would change in complexion and texture due to the good nourishment that was made available to them. During this period, the initiate was looked after by two girls called basyaakamwale ‘initiates’ these initiatees came from the mother and father’s side. The job for the initiates was to cook, feed and hide the initiate when they were going to the toilet and when executing other miscellaneous tasks. This period of seclusion, the initiate was covered and was not allowed to walk upright but had to walk while guided by the two initiates to the toilet in a bowing position. The initiates were taught various lessons during the period of seclusion. In those days, they were taught how to look after the family, how to welcome visitors, how to cook, how to mould pots, calabashes and clay pots unlike these days when people using pots and plates from western world. In the olden days, the initiates never used to take a bath. They were smeared with red oppa ‘musila’ and also applied fats from sour milk and other ointment from the trees. There was plenty of beef to feed on in those days and these initiates were a marvel to watch as they were taken care of.
2.5 Modern Trends
In modern times, it can be mentioned that initiation still occurs. However, it is optional. One can go straight into marriage without undergoing it. This is largely due to the penetrating influence of Christianity which in many ways opposes some of the traditional practices. Even the selection of girls for seclusion is no longer based on the protrusion of breasts but on general maturity as can be perceived by the people responsible. Nevertheless, in the event that the initiation occurs, still the quality of the ceremony has diminished remarkably in the spectacles of traditionalism. As opposed to the earlier observations of culture and practices, in modern times, there are just piecemeal preparations. Though the central theme is similar, that is, to prepare the girl/woman for adult life, the intensity of preparation has dwindled. For instance, instead of six months seclusion, only about two weeks is allowed in contemporary times. Moreover, mantoombwa, the school of catering is not as effective as it used to be. Initiates are not taught everything due to the brevity of the seclusion time. More so, taboos such as menstruating in bed are no longer considered; no more enacting of husband-wife relations since marriage is not the main reason this is done but the emphasis recently lies on hygiene. Besides, there is not much emphasis on hospitality lessons such as looking after visitors. Finally, animals are no longer slaughtered probably due to economic reasons – animals are scarce.
Despite these reservations, it can be mentioned that the departure of modern initiation ceremony from the traditional can be justified – especially with the consideration of the dynamism of culture. Certain practices surely were uncomfortable for the initiates and they had to be stopped – such as the knocking out of, not one but six teeth. Modern initiation ceremony also strives to be compatible with the school curriculum system. This is probably the reason it is accorded such a brief time especially when it comes to the seclusion of the initiate.
2.6 Initiation Ceremony (Nkolola)
Nkolola is the period of celebrating the initiate when coming out of seclusion, liminal and graduation stage. This period is of festival mood. During seclusion and graduation, there is brewing of local beer and drinks like Chibwantu made from maize. In olden days cattle were killed for people to eat while celebrating. Rich families would kill two or three animals during seclusion. These animals were killed in the evenings, and their blood was collected in the calabash for initiate to drink. Before the initiate tasted the beef from these cattle, no one was allowed to eat this beef. The initiates were made to jump the copses of the slaughtered animals and were advised not to step on these animals as it was a taboo. After this process, the women would start singing songs pertaining to this occasion of Nkolola initiation ceremony. They would sing while going round the slaughtered animals.
The following day when the celebrations are starting, relatives to the person who is likely to marry the initiate would officiate the commencement of the initiation ceremony ‘Nkolola’. They were also the same people who invited people to participate in the celebrations. The man who was known to be courting the initiate with his relatives was given a place for them to enjoy drinking local brewed beer and food. The beer and beef were shared according to the number of villages and people invited to commence the initiation ceremony. For those who participated in the preparation of brewing and cooking food for the initiation ceremony, were given portions of beef and beer to carry home after the celebrations as a way of thanking them.
These initiates became mere beautiful and it was difficult for a man to bypass the initiate without looking at her twice or thrice because of the cosmetics which were applied on their bodies. The initiate had to stay with her parents until such a period when the lobola (bride price) was pegged for the groom to – be and until when the bride price was paid could the groom marry the bride. This period, the initiate was called Nakalindu ‘a lady’ as she was no longer a girl anymore. Before joining the groom, the bride was supposed to brew beer and perform other rituals and wore a crown on her head. After doing this process, the bride was allowed to join the groom to become a wife and a husband. The initiates were not allowed to put on the crown on their heads before brewing the local beer. That is how some Tonga people practiced Nkolola at a large scale in olden days and to some extent few are still practicing Nkolola initiation ceremony due to diversity of culture from (Chidwayi 2009: 1-11).
The main focus of this article, is on artefacts used in Nkolola ceremony of the Tonga people. These artefacts are one way of conveying massages as they are symbolic. Nkolola initiation ceremony is a very important school which prepares a teenager to be ready for keeping her husband- to – be and graduate into womanhood. The initiate has to learn the customs and values of her culture through some of the artefacts discussed in this paper. The initiation ceremony is valued by well-meaning Tonga people through the artefacts that are taught to the initiates as they prepare them to be ready for marriage life.
The word (art + faction ) literally means “ something made by skill or craft” and may refer to any artefact products. In common usage artefacts denote an object , manufacturer or modified by human hands. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s dictionary defines artefact as “… an object that is made by a person, especially something of historical and cultural interest.” However, Bauman (1992:205) observes that, “Most dictionary definitions and representative examples not only confer simplicity and primitiveness upon artefacts, but are themselves deceptively simple, concealing both the tangled connotation of the term and the overwhelming diversity and complexity of human makings as well as the uses, meaning and valuations thereof.”
Implicit in the conception and the collection of artefacts is the assumption that cultures not only create, represent, and re-create their distinctive patterns through what they say and do, but through articulations of the material world, and what the former not only can but, in many cases , can only be reconstructed and “ready “ through the latter. The making and using of objects (homo Faber) coexist with language, thinking, and symbol-using (Sapens) in all definition of humanity. Clearly, we would not have collected, arranged and displayed millions of artefacts if we did not believe that the things people have shaped to their use and pleasure are informed with significance, and that artefact-related communication is constitutive of the human conditions (Bauman,1992:205).
Arts and crafts are common in every African society. Some of the art is decorative, intended to make things look beautiful and attractive. Decorative art is found on stools, drums, shields, spears, pipes, pots, gourds, sticks, baskets, dress or cloth materials, mats, domestic animals and even on people’s bodies. The main purpose or reason of African art is to convey religious feeling and meaning. Therefore, it is produced in connection with religious ceremonies and rituals, and some is used in secret societies or in the training of apprentices in various skills and professions…There are many other cultural activities, but we cannot deal with them all here. These examples are, however, enough to show what treasures are to be found in our cultures if we look for and study them well (Mbiti, 2003: 9-19). Among the Tonga people there are various artefacts in form of musical instruments and other ornaments and some are discussed below.
The common artefacts used among the Tonga initiates ‘Bakamwale‘ or ‘Bamooye’ are Kalumbu ‘hand xylophone’, Maaya ‘mini-skirts’ made out of reeds or animal skins or fibre from trees, Kankobela ‘hand organ’ Mantimbwa ‘initiate or girl’s friction bow’ ndandala ‘ ‘flat drum beaten by a stick or a hand’, Mwaandu ‘made from clay pot and animal skin’, and few others which will be discussed in the findings. These artefacts have an aesthetic value among the different societies and some of these artefacts have same meanings among different societies and some artefacts can be similar but with different meanings. The artefacts shape and define culture of human life and among Tongas they are embraced as they transmit the way people should live socially and these artefacts are to be taught to the initiates to enhance Tonga culture. Some of these artefacts start from Mantombwa ‘teenage school of catering until teenagers are introduced to Nkolola ‘traditional initiation school’ and finally to the outside world when they graduate from the three phases of rites of passage as they prepare for marriage. The person who is initiated as called Mooye or Kamwale ‘initiate’ and the one who takes care of the initiate ‘Mooye’ is called Hakamwale ‘caretaker’. Mostly, the caretaker is a young girl who brings food and maintaining hygiene for the initiate. These rites of passage prepared a girl for her future life and at this stage she is a novice yet to graduate from childhood to adulthood.
2.7 The Artefacts used by the Initiate ‘Kamwale’ Or ‘Mooye’ Cosmetic
Mukula: ‘Red Oppa’ : these are small stones which are crushed into some liquid and is applied on the body of Kamwale or Mooye ‘initiate’. The initiate is just covered in blanket and should not cook but bath and eat and beautify herself for a period between one to six months unlike today when the period is too short due to formal school. During this period, the lady should neither be outspoken nor converse with men or boys. She should not walk upright outside the house instead she should be guided by the Hakamwale “young girl”. The Hakamwale ‘young girl’ is also supposed to bring food for the initiate ‘Kamwale’ or ‘Mooye’ and this food is prepared by the initiate’s mother and in some cases by the well-wishers.
Entertainment Instruments for Kamwale ‘Initiate’ include:
Mantimbwa- this is a strong bow harp rubbed by one finger and resting on a tin for good resonant (sound). She plays different tunes which to her are for trying to entice the suitors.
Mweembo – the instrument is made out of kudu horn which is blown from it narrow tip to produce a very loud but dip sound . This is for breathing exercise for lungs and will be directed by the sound of Mweembo trumpet to inform them that there is Nkolola ‘initiation ceremony’ and the same instrument is used to call the servant girl ‘Hakamwale’.
Beads– beads among Tonga women are made by putting them on string to be worn on the waist as jewellery. The initiate is taught how to prepare the beads for wearing around her waist under her clothes . They are only used for marriage purposes and for pleasure of the husband and not a boyfriend . The husband will be touching the beads which will later on arouse his feelings .These beads can be made as necklace as well as jewellery for the wrist.
2.7.1 Types of Beads
In the Nkolola tradition, different colours of beads represent carry different connotations. For instance, the White beads represent innocence, fidelity or purity. They also symbolize that the woman is no longer in her menstruation period, and so the husband is free to have his conjugal rights. Red beads, on the other hand, represent menstruation and during this period no mating between the wife and her husband is allowed. The menstrual blood is considered as dirty and infectious. Therefore, no woman should mate with the husband during this period. Moreover, no woman is allowed to cook any kind of food during menstruation let alone put salt in the food for fear of causing chronic dry called ‘Kakwekwe’. It should be noted that ‘Kakwekwe’ is similar to Tuberculosis (T.B.). Furthermore, if the woman disregards this and mates with a man during this period, it is believed that she will have continuous bleeding called ‘kalobola’ while the husband will have incurable boils called ‘Kafwungo’. The latter is associated to cancer. Worse still, the husband could become impotent – a condition locally known as ‘Kutazyala’.The other types of beads are those of mixed colours. These beads are essentially for decorations. They may be interspaced with pieces of sticks known as ‘Mpimpi’ and these are used as charms. Mpimpi are designed to entice and entertain the husband. These beads are for enhancing the arousal feelings in a man and woman.
In contrast to other types of initiation ceremonies such as the Cinamwali of the Eastern province of Zambia or the Cisungu of the Bemba people in the Northern province of Zambia, Tonga women are not taught to entertain men in bed during Nkolola ‘initiation ceremony’ or during period of rites of passage. The reason given is that, from the days of rain makers when the Tonga people were just developing as a tribe and were still migrating from one place to another, they discouraged the unmarried people from taking part in sexual activities hence they were not taught how to perform in bed. It was believed that if an unmarried person engaged in sexual activities then the drought could ensue in the land.
The other significant artefact is ‘Masebele’. These are dried round fruits which are strung together in some pattern and tied around the legs to make a rattling sound as the ‘Kamwale’ or ‘Mooye’ initiate dances. The tree which produces Masebele is called Mukumbuzu and the fruits are called Makumbuzu. These may also be used as a necklaces for some initiates ‘Bakamwale’ or ‘Bamooye’ and dancers . They can be used as bangles to be worn loosely around the wrist . They are for entertainment and enhancing beauty.
(Source: Kirby, P.R. (1934) Musical Instruments of the Native Races of Southern Africa. London: Oxford University Press.)
The other artefact of equal importance is Maaya which is made of strings and cowry shells tied at the end of each string so that the string can hang properly. The upper part of string is served into a belt which goes around the wrist. This belt is made of cloth or back of trees woven into a nice pattern while an animal skin could be used as belt for holding ‘Maaya’. ‘Maaya’ is a short string skirt and it was initially made from the strings obtained from bark of the tree or animal skin.
(Source: Kirby, P.R. (1934) Musical Instruments of the Native Races of Southern Africa. London: Oxford University Press.)
Other artefacts used from separation phase up to the period of aggregation (graduation).
The drum ‘Ngoma’ is a significant artefact in this phase. Suffice it to mention that Africans are very fond of music in general. Therefore, music, dance and singing are found in every African community. We also find many kinds of musical instruments, the commonest being the drum. There are drums of many shapes, sizes and purposes. Some drums are used only in connection with kings and chiefs: these royal drums are often considered sacred and may not be played commonly or by anybody. There are war drums, talking drums, ceremonial drums and so on…Music is used in all activities of African life: in cultivating the fields, fishing, herding, performing ceremonies, praising rulers and warriors, hushing babies to sleep, and so on. African music and dance have spread to other continents…They are one of the chief treasures of the African culture and heritage (Mbiti, 2003: 9). The Tonga community appreciates the use of drums greatly also. However, this paper will focus on those uses pertaining to the Nkolola initiation ceremony where the drum is seen as an artefact. Equally important, drums are used to alert people in the community that the initiates are graduating. There are three types of drums used during Nkolola initiation ceremony namely; a) Ngoma Yakusunta ‘small drum’ – this drum is used for smaller sound called syncopation to produce high pitched sound, b) Ngoma Yampalanga ‘medium drum’- used for setting the pattern of dancing and, c) Ngoma Mpati ‘big drum’- is used for bass or deep sound and when the three drums are beaten together they produce very melodious instrumental music which is often accompanied by songs. Behind music and dance, drums are common as seen among the Tongas with their famous drums during initiation ceremony of Nkolola. As indicated earlier, these drums are not only played during Nkolola but also other activities such as funerals and in olden days the drums were used to inform people about looming wars or any form of pending danger. The drums were also sounded during the veneration of ancestral spirits and others for social dances and to date drums are part of African culture though not at a large scale as it used to be in the past.
Kalumbu ‘percution bow’ used for playing music by the single young men to attract the girls including the initiate ‘kamwale’. Kankobela ‘piano’ is used for playing music by elderly men who cannot run around dancing. This is for entertainment during graduation of the initiates ‘Kamwale’ and is used for emotional expression ‘carthasis’.
(Source: Kirby, P.R. (1934) Musical Instruments of the Native Races of Southern Africa . London: Oxford University Press.)
(Source: Kirby, P.R. (1934) Musical Instruments of the Native Races of Southern Africa. London: Oxford University Press.)
Ndandala ‘cylindrical drum’- is played by men of all ages. it is beaten as the singer walks around during the graduation of the initiate ‘ kuzwa kwa kamwale’ and also played on the eve of the graduation of the initiate ‘kuzwa kwa kamwale’. These drums are used to symbolize a very important event taking place in the village and the one who plays it praises himself. Together with the initiate, he will be claiming all sorts of big things Kulibanda’ like being rich, great traveler, great fighter, producer of beautiful women mostly referring to the initiate ‘ Kamwale’.
Banjo ‘ board zither’; – is used by young boys to play songs for the age mates of the initiates to dance and sing songs praising their boyfriends’ achievements. The banjo may be accompanied by a whistle and hand rattles.
Mpeta ‘war horn‘ was formally used by warriors going to war. Later, it was used by herd boys and men during Nkolola initiation ceremony. During graduation, the user of Mpeta ‘war horn’ would not utter words while blowing the instrument but during intermission they would claim great things they have done or great things they are expecting concerning the initiate ‘Kamwale’.
This was a qualitative study embedded in phenomenology research design. This is because it is dealing with participants’ lived experiences (Creswell, 2008). The focus was thus on understanding from the perspective of the person or persons being studied. This design was used in this study, over a number of reasons, one being that it seek to address central research question in a phenomenological form as it ask questions such as, what are the lived experiences of a group around (specific phenomenon? Or what are the meanings, structures, and essence of the lived experience of a specific phenomenon? (Prereira,2012). Therefore, going by the above justification, employing the above design in investigating the significance artefacts used during Nkolola traditional ceremony practiced by the Tonga speaking people was appropriate in this study.
The sample design for the study was non-random purposeful sampling. Under non-random purposeful sampling the study utilized the purposive and snowball sampling. The 18 initiates took part in the study were identified using both purposive and snowball sampling. Here it is worth mentioning that, the sample size was determined by the sampling technique which was used in this study. In this case it is the snowballing sampling. In qualitative research, there is no exact way of determining neither sample size nor the ‘right’ answer in the same way a power calculation may yield a sample size in quantitative research. The sample size depends on consideration of a number of factors including: “the quality of data, the scope of the study, the nature of the topic, the amount of useful information obtained from each participant, the number of interviews per participant, the use of shadowed data, and the qualitative method and study design used” (Leech and Onwuegbuzie, 2007; Morse, 2000, p.3). Therefore, what determines the sample size is data saturation. Saturation is used as a ‘marker for sampling adequacy’ (O’Reilly and Parker, 2013). It is the above justification which limited this study to a sample size of 18.
Purposive sampling is used by qualitative researchers to select individuals, groups and settings that maximize understanding of the phenomenon (Leech and Onwuegbuzie, 2007; Hancock et al, 2009). In this study’s context purposive sampling was best suited due to its advantages with the use of people knowledgeable and in a position to identify the required participants for the study. Snowball sampling was also suited for this study because it is appropriate in identifying population that are not easily identifiable or accessible to participate in an interview (Kombo and Tromp, 2009; Onwuegbuzie and Leech, 2007). The target population were women that have underwent Nkolola initiation ceremony before their marriage. The study utilized the following qualitative methods of research: in-depth interviews and personal narrative. The secondary data was collected from relevant documents pertaining to the Tonga Culture. The data analysis was done thematically after verbatim transcription.
2.9 The findings of the Study
This study set out to investigate into the relevance of artefacts used during Nkolola initiation ceremony practiced by the Tonga speaking of Magoye District. The study sought to address two pertinent questions. These were: To what extent do Tonga speaking people appreciate and use the artefacts during initiation ceremony? What role do artefacts play in marriage? In this study, the primary data was collected through in-depth interviews and a personal narrative from eighteen women who had undergone Nkolola initiation ceremony training and six trainers (Siakamwale). Because of their vast experiences, it was felt that they would make positive contributions to this study.
When asked to state the extent to which artefacts used in Nkolola initiation ceremony are appreciated among the Tonga natives, diverse views were received from the participants. Out of eighteen initiates interviewed in the study, sixteen indicated that Artefacts used during Nkolola initiation ceremony among the Tongas are very much appreciated as they play an important role. Their views are that artefacts are accompanied by moral values as they enhance Tonga culture through their associated didacticism. The implication here is that people could derive some moral lessons from these artefacts such as hygiene, kindness, tolerance, submission, hard work, perseverance, decency, fidelity, among others. Yet four participants further gave one example on how artefacts can impart a moral lesson. They said that the use of beads and their appropriate interpretation between husband and wife promote hygiene. The beads, depending on its colour, can indicate whether it is safe to engage in conjugal activities or not. A case in point, red beads indicate that the woman is having her menstrual period while the white ones mean the woman is ready for conjugal activities. Thus, red is dangerous and unhygienic while white is welcoming and hygienic. Therefore, it is observed that the artefacts being presented are very significant as they contribute to the wellbeing not only to the initiates but also to the Tonga society in general.
Six trainers were of the view that artefacts used during Nkolola initiation ceremony training are mostly for moral lessons and entertainment. The six participants drawn among the trainers further pointed out that looking at the artefacts starting from Mukula made from stones, Mantimbwa, Mweembo, beads, Masebele, Maaya, Ngoma, lkalumbu, Kankobela, Andandula, banjo and Mpeta, all convey message which is in form of code of conduct or morals, entertainment, hygiene and cooperation or unity the Tonga people.
Furthermore, ten participants drawn among the trainees further indicated that artefacts unite the Tonga people especially through the institution of marriage. The various lessons that women are taught during the initiation ceremony enable them to live with their husbands peacefully. Besides, in the ceremony, they are also taught how to live honourably in the community. These initiation ceremonies result in particular ambience with regard to uprightness of values among the Tonga people. Ultimately, initiation ceremonies lead to stable marriages which in turn lead to a community that is reliable and conducive for the upbringing of good and cultured children. When the trainers were further probed on the current status on the usage of artefacts in Nkolola initiation ceremony among the Tonga speaking people, they lamented that the usage of artefacts is slowly losing value due to globalisation and invasion of new religions which denounce whatever is of African tradition as demonic and barbaric. Consequently, the African tradition is being forgotten by the new generation. On the same, the trainers also blamed Christianity as a religion that affects the preservation and appreciation of artefacts.
2.10 Discussion of the findings
The study found that the usage of artefacts among the Tonga speaking people is still valued. The study further established that the usage of artefacts among the Tonga speaking people united them through marriage. Artefacts conveyed powerful message in form of code of conduct or morals, entertainment, personal hygiene, cooperation and posterity. Above all the study also established that the usage of artefacts contributed to the well-being of the Tonga people in general. Lastly, the study also established that even if the usage of artefacts among the Tonga speaking people is still valued, it is slowly diminishing due to globalisation and invasion of westernisation.
For the artefacts to be preserved, it is up to the old folks to go back to the roots and revive them so that the new generation can know the value of upholding them for the continuity of the African culture. Therefore, it can be reiterated that the artefacts play a very important role of inculcating knowledge to the initiates ‘Bakamwale’. The artefacts like beads are so educative as they teach women to maintain hygiene and entertain their husbands something which could lead to sexual satisfaction, and beautifying them as they are worn as jewellery. The artefacts are conveyers of morals messages to the initiates as they are taught to read signs from these artefacts. These artefacts play a major role of instilling a sense of pride especially among some Tonga people who still practice ‘Nkolola’ initiation ceremony. The parents whose children passed through the Nkolola initiation ceremony are proud as they do not risk being disappointed by their children when they get married. Artefacts on Nkolola have a variety of explanations especially in the area of beads and it is difficult to exhaust this subject area. It has been observed that the importance of artefacts has to some extent lost value in Magoye district due to dynamism in culture and this was as a result of westernization which has changed the mind-sets of people not to value their own culture. There are only few who have preserved the knowledge of artefacts which means that African Culture has failed to resist change from outside world. However, despite the diminishing of the usage of artefacts in Nkolola initiation ceremonies, the Tonga people are encouraged to preserve and use the artefacts. It has also been established that the current generation associates themselves with the modern civilization which should not be the case. Therefore the study recommended that a future study should focus on methods of preserving cultural heritage
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