Sunday, July 27, 2008

Akpema (God-Honoring Edition)

The traditional Akpema dancing
This past Saturday we attended an Akpema ceremony in the village of Kaacaade. Akpema (Ahk-peh-mah) is a traditional Kabiye ceremony that signifies a young girl is passing into womanhood. You can read a short article about it here. Normally this ceremony involves sacrifices, nudity in front of wide-eyed young men and sitting on a rock in front of village elders. Once on the rock, it is said that if the young woman lies about her sexual history, a swarm of bees will be released. If she has had an abortion, a python will appear between her legs.We enjoyed a great meal of rice with hot sauce and sulum after the ceremony, Yum!

It is easy to see that this is not a healthy cultural tradition that should be carried on in it's traditional form. Our team has encouraged the Kabiye Christians to come up with spiritually healthy alternatives to these traditional rites and ceremonies, and on Saturday we experienced our first taste of what that can look like.

While still incorporating aspects of the traditional ceremony such as ritual dancing and singing (see video above), the Christian Akpema put on by this Christian family also included songs of praise, prayers, blessings on the young girl, and the taking of the Lord's Supper. Afterwards a huge meal was served, and a joyful, happy atmosphere was in the air.This little girl had the best time out of anyone in attendance. Her joy was evident!

What a blessing it was for our family to attend this ceremony! Not only was it a very interesting and thought provoking afternoon, but above all, God was honored within the Kabiye culture. We have not come here to change this culture or to make the people like us and adopt our cultural norms; we have come to preach the Word that testifies that Jesus is Lord, confident that God will work within this culture to advance His Kingdom. To see that happening makes our insides sweet!The team ladies with the young girl, now a woman!Corban loved the singing and especially the drums


Miss G said...

wow, this is really cool. I am so proud of them for being able to make a change in their tradition. Praise God! Kelly

Tammie's Thoughts said...

What a great post!

Anonymous said...

this is crazy! i don't like the way you guys are trying to change our culture! it's been going on for years and you have no right to encourage people to change it. it's what makes us africain, it's a tradition, our tradition. and what the fuck do u mean it's not hearthy???

Brett, April, Caden & Corban said...

Thanks for the comment. How are things in Virginia? I hear Manassas is nice this time of year ;)

If you'd truly like to dialogue about Akpema, I'd love to hear from you. However, if you'd like to comment anonymously from Virginia, that's fine too.

I a living in Kara, Togo and know alot about Akpema first hand, and I'd love to hear your experiences with it as well. Feel free to email me or leave another comment...but you can leave the F-bomb at home :)