Story: Samuel Duodu, Dwayaw Nkwanta
Queens in the Duayaw Nkwanta Traditional Area of the Tano North District of the Brong Ahafo Region have reintroduced puberty rites to prevent young girls in the area from contracting sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancy.
Three girls aged between 18 and 19 who have undergone the traditional rites at Duayaw Nkwanta have been presented with GH¢800. While one received GH¢400, the other two received GH¢200 each from the district assembly.
The assembly presented the money to the girls in fulfilment of a pledge made to them during an initiation ceremony recently.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Mr Nicholas Lenin Anane Agyei, the Tano North District Chief Executive (DCE), commended the queens for re-instituting a very good cultural practice that made the girls keep their virginity till they marry, adding that the tradition had been abandoned in the area a long time ago.
He expressed his gratitude to the parents of the girls and the girls themselves for availing themselves and going through the rites, which would go a long way to make them role models to their peers in their various communities.
He called on the queen of Duayaw Nkwanta and her elders to put in place an effective monitoring system at every stage to ensure that the girls lived up to expectation.
Mr Anane Agyei charged the girls to also strive hard to live above all reproach in order not to bring disgrace to the traditional council, the assembly, their communities and family once they had undergone the rites.
He further pledged that the assembly would give scholarship to the two girls at the junior high school level to enable them go through the senior high school (SHS), while it would also assist the SHS student to pursue tertiary education.
Nana Birago, for her part, said she and her elders re-instituted the ‘Bragro’ (puberty rites) to help minimise the incidence of teenage pregnancy and prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS among girls in the area.
She said puberty rites were cultural practices that was observed in the area some 30 years ago, but were stopped leading to immoral behaviours among the youth, especially girls in the area.
Nana Birago was optimistic that the traditional rites would encourage the girls to lead decent lives and abstain from pre-marital sex and other anti-social practices.
She thanked the assembly for its immense support to the programme and added that once a girl started menstruation and the queens were informed the girls would be monitored till they attained the age of 18 before they could undergo the rites.