Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Crucible of Masculinity: Rehashing vital lessons our African ancestors taught us about how to be worthy men.


Manhood is a test that all men have to take and hopefully pass in order to be granted the status of being a full fledged man.


Nobody demands that adult females act like "real women" because they are considered to be women in most societies when they start menstruating.

However, we aren’t so apt to give adult males in this society that jealously guarded label, a “real man,” simply because they are mature in their physical development.

They have tests they must transcend in order to earn that title.

We already told you what those characteristics are in the 7 Responsibilities every man has to fulfill in life.

Now I want to give you an example of how real men rise above their fear and incompetencies using the example of the Samburu people from Kenya.

The Samburu Journey to Manhood

The Samburu boys are separated from their mothers and forced into the bush to endure the rites of passage that lead to maturity at the tender age of 12 years old.

They are put through a number of harsh tests to see if they have what it takes to fit the bill of manhood and these tests last for more than 10 years.

The first test is the circumcision test.

With this test they must line up in a row facing their male family members and one by one they are circumcised without any anesthesia.

If they cry out or show pain of any kind they fail the manhood training test right then and there and he and his family are banished from the community and are looked down upon with shame and contempt forever.

Another test is the “cold turkey” test.

Here they are forced to give up the food they have enjoyed since they were toddlers like milk and sugary sweets and they cannot have anymore food prepared by women.

This is the hardest test for them to overcome because they have been accustomed to these foods and are now forced to dramatically relinquish their desire for them or suffer the consequence of failing the test of manhood.

Another crucial test is the ox killing test.

At this point they individually are required to go deep into the bush to find and kill a 3,500 pound ox.

When they get back they will have a big feast and the man will give the biggest piece of meat to his mother.

Now what are these tests saying?

The circumcision test says that in order for a man to be a full fledged man they have to learn how to endure a tremendous amount of pain and deal with it in order to provide for their women, children, tribe, region and race.

The cold turkey test says that men have to deny their own personal desires and get over their Peter Pan complex or their tendency to regress into a childlike state by killing any urges or habits that keep them from realizing their goals as men.

In regards to not eating any food from women it’s symbolically relating to the time when the baby was completely dependent on mothers milk to keep them alive.

Now since he is a man he doesn’t need the mother to provide for him because he can do it himself.

This is tied into the ox killing test.

By being brave enough to go into the woods in the cold and darkness to steal and kill an ox they are suggesting that in order to be a worthy man males must have the courage and persistence to do what is necessary to provide for their own.

That means killing, stealing or just putting up with a whole bunch of bullshit you don’t want to put up with.

When he gives the biggest piece of meat to his mother he is saying that instead of being a consumer, taking from others and burdening them, now I am the giver and producer, and it is MY turn to give without praise or recognition.

This signifies that men are the providers and it is their (and only their) responsibility to provide for their own.

What would happen if Afrikan Amerikans and men of Afrikan descent all over really lived by these masculine concepts our ancestors left for us?

Can you imagine what that world would look like?

7 comments:

MysTery said...

That is come crazy stuff. As far as the women part...I don't know what you are talking about! Lol. From the culture I grew up in, women aren't considered such just because they have passed that physical test. I think it goes both ways are far as males and females proving they are mature enough to be called men and women. But that's with the folks that I know and grew up with.

James Tubman said...

@mystery... yeah in this society we do have a standard for how we judge women but its not as hard as for men

men cant be weak, poor, incompetent the way women can

almost without exception a woman can act anyway she feels like and no one questions her womanhood

with men have a lot more things we have to do in order to reach that title

i could be wrong

MysTery said...

I will have to agree to disagree on this one.

Where I am from both are judged just as harshly.

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