IndexAfrica→ [Bantu speaking tribes]Tebu


(among others featured: Bakene, Bageshu, Teita, Tebu)



Laubscher (1937:p76, 77-8, 79-80)[1] states that boys of twelve begin to decorate the sex organs, which is to draw attention to it. No sexual instructions are given to boys. “They roam about in association with the animals they herd and learn their lessons from these sources and companions. In fact, unnatural sex relations with animals are not at all uncommon at this period [adolescence]. If a boy is observed in such an act, he is punished by corporal punishment. [sic] […] Masturbatory manipulations of the penis are quite common and may receive a playful rebuke, but are not viewed at all seriously. They are merely considered as playful activities of children. At the age of fifteen and when nearing the age period (usually eighteen years) for the Abakweta ceremony, masturbation in the youngster will create concern if it comes to the notice of the elders, because it is considered as evidence of immaturity and hence unfitness for the Abakweta ceremony”. Girls are not instructed in sexual matters, but are frequently warned against sexual relations. Customary examination of the female sex organs is instituted “from about the age of twelve years, even before the onset of menstruation” or “since early girlhood”, for which phenomenon the girls are instructed. Examination occurs every three days (p78, 80), later by a specially appointed female at significant events. Metsha, intercrural intercourse, “is performed by boys and girls at an early age and may serve as an early form of hetero-sexual adaptation. It certainly does not, at the prepubertal period, replace masturbation. Some observers and informants place the ages for the beginning of metsha somewhere about ten or eleven, if not earlier. In fact many native males state they started to metsha at such an early age that they could not remember”. The attitude of parents toward metsha is dualistic: fathers pretend not to know, mothers warn their daughters against it. It takes place in a separate children’s hut. Parents prevent children observing their intercourse, because they “must never have reason to think that sexual relations occur between the parents”.









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] Laubscher, B.J.F. (1937) Sex, Custom and Psychopathology: A Study of South African Pagan Natives. London: Routledge