Art and Initiation Among the Yaka and Suku

by Arthur Bourgeois
Professor Emeritus, Governors State University

The newly circumcised remain naked in the open, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1976. Photo by Arthur Bourgeois.

All of this effort is conducted by senior officials and their assistants bearing named titles.  Events include setting up of a special pole or tree and initial celebration preliminary to the actual rites, prayers to the ancestors of the sponsoring village, preparation of the circumcision site, ritual washing, extensive use of strengtheners and charms, appearance of masks, several coming-out events, burning of the lodge, and final purification and lifting of prohibitions.