Growing Up Sexually



ANGOLA (Babunda, Luimi, Umbundu, Bajok / Badjok, Wahiwé) 




Featured: Babunda, Luimi, Umbundu, Bajok / Badjok, Wahiwé

Whether the speech in boy’s initiation ceremonies includes sexological material was not clarified by Hambly (1935:p39)[1]. However:


“Traditionally, the Angolan youth, particularly from rural areas, has practised rites of initiation. These rites introduce young men and women to sexual issues. The main objective of this ritual learning process is to prepare the youth for marriage and their individual and social roles as procreators. For example, the initiated boy shall have his first sexual experience with an adult woman (generally, a maternal or paternal aunt) who could explain to him the most adequate attitude to fulfil his role as a father and to inhibit distress (Altuna, 1993)[[2]]. These pre-marital relations are considered as an important psychological preparation and acquisition of skills for the exercise of a man’s primordial role in society. Society, therefore, recognises these rites as rehearsals and a proof of his ability to be married. Although society exerts a strong control on youth, particularly, regarding sexual life, this sexual education might be at the origin of certain abuses and sexual freedoms. Thus, initiated youths could take a lover in secret. In some cases, young women who have been initiated and are no longer virgin feel freer to maintain hidden sexual relations. Circumcision has the following objectives: to prepare the young man for physiological roles of fatherhood and to define his sexual role regarding marriage. This could be practised as part of rites of initiation into puberty (Altuna, 1993)”[3].


Further (ibid.),


“The family education particularly regarding sex exerts an influence on behaviour of young people. However, considering the Angola case study, its discussion between parents and offspring is very rare in so far as sex is considered a “taboo” subject. The results of the study carried out in Luanda among teenagers between 14-20 years old show that most of the teenagers do not talk about sex with their parents. Generally, this subject is tackled among friends, school acquaintances or girlfriend/boyfriend (Leitão, Ana, 1997).  According to some authors, parents avoid talking about these issues for it is considered a motivation to the early practice of early sexual experiences” (p40). “Within the traditional societies, the beginning of sexual life is very early, but it is regulated and reproduction oriented.  In this way, the youth begins their sexual life within a framework of a formal union. Today, the practice of sex addresses pleasure, as well as the learning of sex addresses the duties of a husband” (p54).



Featured: Babunda, Luimi, Umbundu, Bajok / Badjok, Wahiwé


Further reading:

§         Bastin, M. (Spring 1986)Ukule, initiationdes adolescentes chez les Tshokwe: Angola. Arts d'Afrique Noire57:15-30



Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Sept 2004



[1] Hambly, W. D. (1935) Tribal initiation of boys in Angola, Am Anthropol 37:36-40

[2] Altuna, P. R. (1993) Cultura Tradicional Banto, 2nd ed., Luanda; Secretariado Arquidiocesano Pastoral

[3] Castelo, M. A., Gaspan, M.& Félix, B. V. (1999) A Cultural Approach to Hiv/Aids Prevention and Care: Angola’s Experience. Unesco, Studies and Reports, Special Series, Issue No. 4. Cultural Policies for Development Unit, p35-6. Cf. 47-50