Bragoro/Dipo (Female Puberty Rite) need to be revisited as a rich African culture.

Female Puberty Rite (Dipo/Bragoro) will help reduce teenage pregnancy and raise upright women in Ghana.

Female puberty rite is an element of Ghanaian culture which was observed by almost all the ethnic group in Ghana some time past. Female Puberty Rite is a ceremony for Ghanaian teenage girls where the teenage girls are ushered into womanhood when the teenage girls menstruate for the first time.

It is true there are elements in Ghanaian culture which need to be changed or modified but Female Puberty Rite is not one of such elements. As I always put it, tradition is good to be taking in, but best to know the one which is good to be eaten and the one rotten to be discarded. I am of a strong point that Female Puberty Rite is good to be taken in and will cause no harm to our development.

Reasons why there is the need to hold firm to female puberty (Dipo/Bragoro) rite as a rich Ghanaian culture are below:

Ø During the time Female Puberty Rite was held in high esteem, almost all Ghanaian teenage girls were aware of the punishment one receives when she has sexual intercourse before her time was due for the performance of the Female Puberty Rite. In order to avoid this punishment and it associated disgrace and shame, teenage girls abstained from sexual intercourse until time was due for the performance of the Female Puberty Rite.

Ø Also, every time a teenage girl has her first menstruation the parents were the first people the teenage girl informs and to her friends. This help the teenage girl to receive the needed education about how to take care of her body from that time onwards. This education includes how the teenage girl should take care of her body during and after menstruation to avoid bad body odor.

Ø After the teenage girl inform her parent of her first menstruation, the parents also inform the queen mother of their noble village or town for the teenage girl to be taken through the necessary rites. Before the rite is performed for the teenage girl, the queen mother and her elders will give the teenage girl the necessary education that will her grow to become a good wife and a mother.

Ø On the day the rite will be performed for the teenage girl, various elders and friends of the teenage girl (male and female) are invited to honor the girl for keeping herself save till such honorable occasion. Gifts of various kinds are presented to the teenage girl. At the later part of the ceremony, the men of the town are made aware that the teenage girl is of age and any man who wants to marry her should come to see her parents instead of play hide and seek games with the teenage girl who is now ushered into womanhood.

Now tell me if this element of Ghanaian culture was not the reason Ghana had less cases of teenage pregnancy in history. Go ahead and tell me if looking down on this element of Ghanaian culture is not the reason for many Ghanaian girl-youths having behavioral disorders. Tell me if this tradition is good to be eaten or rotten to be discarded.

Kobina Essoun

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