The Beretchol & The Kinson
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The Beretchol & The Kinson

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The Beretchol ritual of initiation and Kinson mask entity of Guinea, West Africa.

The Beretchol ritual of initiation and Kinson mask entity of Guinea, West Africa.

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  • 1. AFRICAWRITES.COM May 10th, 2011 AfricaWrites v.15 Rites of Passage: The Beretchol - "After the men have been disrobed of their ceremonial covering and their eyes washed, each is handed a bamboo pole measuring nine to ten feet in length." "One by one the newly initi- ated young men file between houses into the center of the village to the desig- nated public gather- ing area.” AfricaWrites: Research, Exploration & Preservation By Patrick Gorham Lanfia Toure AfricaWrites is an African non- time, weve worked across many members to instruct Baga youth profit NGO based in Kankan, African countries. Some of our in lessons of manhood, dance, Guinea with a mission of re- most recently featured stories on traditional medicine, Baga history search, exploration and the pres- AfricaWrites.com include: “Be- and spiritual practice. The con- ervation of African cultures. To retchol”, “Beretchol” is the story duct of the Beretchol ensures con- do this we set out years ago to of Baga youth initiation into tinued succession of the passage accurately research and preserve adulthood. Also featured, “Rites of the various rituals and ceremo- the sounds and images of ancient of the Fishermen: The Baga” is nies of the Baga people from one cultures of each and every Afri- the story of Baga traditional fish- generation to the next. Its tradi- can ethnic group. The website ing rituals, saints, protection enti- tional structure and organization AfricaWrites.com was created in ties and shark fishing. provide for a critical framework 2005 to provide detailed stories, The Beretchol initiation cere- and opportunity for personal imagery and serve as an outlet or mony is organized by Baga elders growth, fellowship and appren- resource for unique history and and is lead by a chief of the sa- ticeship in the practice of Baga cultures of Africa. Since that cred forest and sacred society traditional cultural professions.3
  • 2. 10th, 2011 “Through the washing of the eyes of the initiated men those who have been initiated are now able to see the world clearly and with new eyes and clearer perspective. After the men have been dis- robed of their ceremonial covering and their eyes washed, each is handed a bamboo pole measuringAFRICAWRITES May nine to ten feet in length.” - AfricaWrites Team AfricaWrites: Research, Exploration & Preservation By Patrick Gorham Lanfia Toure The Kinson mask entity (shown above), is notable for its day before any fishing is done, numerous sacred materials red, white and blue headdress known as, "Abampa”. The are gathered by various elders and fishing chiefs. Kinson is the Baga mask entity associated with marriage Members of the AfricaWrites team during this expedi- and the blessings of matrimony. The bearer of the "Kinson" tion to observe the Beretchol and other Baga rituals in- entity wears the "Kota” green cloth concealing the face and cluded, Robert Saa Millimono, Dr. Siaka Koundouno and identity of its wearer in conjunction with the straw rafia or myself, Patrick Gorham Lanfia Toure. Other AfricaWrites long skirt dressing known as "Naye". During ritual displays staff who contributed during the course of the expedition of the Kinson, the Kinson entity is escorted by the included Idrissa Feindouno, Aboubacar Fall, Isai Haba and “Wouroumou Mokopissa”. The Kinsons headdress is other AfricaWrites correspondents living and working called, "Abamba". The Abampa symbolizes fishing by vari- across Africa. For more about the Beretchol, the Kinson, ous Guinean bird species as they circles high overhead, and other AfricaWrites stories, please visit identifying the presence of fish in the river. http://www.africawrites.com or contact us at To ensure the safety of fishermen against dangers while info@africawrites.com. fishing, the Baga conduct several steps of preparation. The 3