Cultural Practice and Social Initiation in Sub-Saharan Africa: The “Godja” or Flogging in “Barugube” Fulani of Benin

Sounon Adam NAKOU, Pascal C. DAKPO, Folly MESSAN, Alphonse GAGLOZOUN, Nancy MIDOL


Benin Fulani people are nomadic shepherds who live with their herds in occasional camps located away from areas where villagers are. Although they are people with a noncentralized political system, Benin Fulani have devised an initiation rite with every adolescent and Suka have to undergo before being accepted into the different age groups among the Fulani Waaldeeji. These age classes are organized in an educational institution where prevail equality and mutual trust conducive to assistance to one another as a rule. This initiation rite constitutes one of the means by which the Fulani Barugubé confers gradually the full rights and social duties to the Sukaabe. More than a rite of social integration in which aggression occurs and develops a logical exchange of lashes, the Godja turns to be a practice that helps to maintain and affirm a social identity around cultural references.

Key words: Flagellation or “Godja’’ rite initiation; Barugubé; Age class or “Waaldeeji’’; Social integration


Flagellation or “Godja’’ rite initiation; Barugubé; Age class or “Waaldeeji’’; Social integration

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