One of the most important cultural norms of the Bamasaba, also known as (Gisu) a community within the “Ntu” or “Bantu” speaking linage, will yet again hold its boy to manhood initiation rite known as “Imbalu” through which boys aged 14years and above are culturally initiated into adulthood, through circumcision.
The initiation ceremony which takes place every even year, has been categorized as one of the most attractive cultural event, that draws audiences of both Gisu and nontribal affiliated individuals who dearly want to follow it’s unfolding here in Eastern Uganda.
The initiation which has been flagged up for ages, at the cultural grounds of Mutoto just five kilometers away from Mbale town, will yet again come alive this year on 6th August 2016 as the tribe that spreads to the foothills of Mountain Elgon and across the Uganda-Kenya border is estimated to have thousands of boys lined up for initiation during the four months elapse period.
Months of August to December, 2016, will be guided with bold “lumasaba” (local dialect) encouraging songs, rhythmic dancing and crowd moving stunts with a more local exhibition dance of “Kadodi” in both villages and streets, as initiates boost their confidence three weeks or few days before they face the wrath of the knife, immediately after the launch on Saturday, 6th next month.
Initiates who don themselves in more light but colorful outfits, are designed by Elders within their communities, having them dressed with animal hides, colorful beads with ash like painted faces from an ingredient of the local brew known as “Busera” or “malwa” to make them look fierce and bold to show elders that they are ready for initiation.
To many Bamasaba, male circumcision in broad day light is a cultural rite which proves one is a grown up and a hero because he braved a knife without turning shy. More surprising about this rite is that it is done by the use of smaller knives locally known as “inyembe” without any anesthesia.
The communities of Bududa, Manafwa, Mbale, Sironko, Bulambuli, Mbale Municipality and the Babukusu in Kenya and Mount Elgon region who share the norms and beliefs will yet again pound their feet on the ground so hard while they flap two small sticks together and held high over their heads.
Mutoto, the Bugisu cultural site, is regarded as the traditional ground where the first Mugisu male was circumcised ages before the cultural ritual could turn coloured and known to the world’s face in every even year.