How Virginity Test Is Done In Ghana

Puberty Rites among the Krobos of Eastern
Region, Ghana.
This is the first time it was caught on camera
because their tradition has always forbidden it but
due to modernization, the initiation processes of this
unique tradition had to be uncovered.
My research was conducted in Ghana, West Africa
among the Krobos, a tribal group in the Eastern
Region of Ghana.
Puberty Rites called Dipo among the Krobos is a very
prominent event which has been carried out for years
despite the influences of education, modernization
and missionization. The practice is held very strongly
by the Krobos and it is ensured that every female in
the tribe undergoes the rites. The rites are held every
year between the months of April and May. Several
girls partake in this event which lasts for a period of
four days during which they spend most of their time
in the Dipo house where the rites take place.
During this period, the girls are dressed in a special
way to show that they are initiates. They have food
restrictions and are only allowed to drink water from
a well. They are taught the Klama dance, undergo a
ritual bath and the crux of the rite is when the girls
are made to sit on a stone which is believed
determines virginity. Any girl who is found not to be a
virgin at the time of the rites used to be ostracized in
the past and was treated as an outcast. Nowadays, a
set of purification rituals are performed for such a
girl. On the last day of the rites, the girls are dressed
up in colourful Kente cloth (a traditional cloth in
Ghana) and adorned with a lot of beads on their neck,
arms and waist. A durbar is held during which the
girls perform the Klama dance amidst singing and in
the presence of onlookers.
In the past, when there was no formal education, the
rites served as a form of vocational training period
for initiates where they were taught housekeeping and
child rearing skills. The girls were therefore initiated
into womanhood after which, they were ready to be
married.
The rites have undergone a number of changes over
the years. It was previously held for girls who
had reached the age of puberty and were of
marriageable age but now girls as young as two and
four years of age are made to go through the rites.
The period for the rites has also lessened. In the
past, the girls used to be camped in the Dipo house
for a period of a year, then it reduced to some
months and then a few weeks and today, a period of
four days. Formal education is mostly attributed to
this change. Marks used to be made on the back of
the hands of the participants. These days, it has been
replaced with photography. There have been a lot of
discussions about the exposure of the body as the
girls are made to wear the very minimum clothing and
have their breasts exposed during the rites.
There  have been calls for the abolishment of the rites
as it is seen as a fetish practice which also exposes
girl’s nudity to the public. However, the Krobos still
hold strongly to this cultural practice which is
indigenous to them and is seen as an emblem of the
tribe.
The rites attract an increasing number of tourists
from within and outside Ghana who travel to the
Krobo towns every year to witness the event. The
bead industry also thrives during the season of the
rites as the girls are made to wear a lot of beads in
the last days of the rites. The rites were significant in
preventing teenage pregnancy sexual promiscuity until
girls were of age and ready to be married. However,
with the increasing number of younger participants
way below puberty age, it is feared that the Dipo is
gradually loosing its significance.
The study therefore looks into a cultural practice that
has withstood the test of time even though it is
continually undergoing changes. The rites have been
modified over the years and are still undergoing
changes. Factors that have influenced these changes
include education, Christianity, and modernization
among others. The Krobos have managed to preserve
their culture despite these influences which makes i t
a subject of interest as puberty rites among other
tribes in Ghana is virtually non-existent.

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