Getaway (South Africa)
THEY SAY YOUTH IS WASTED 0N THE YOUNG…
‘I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger,’ sang Faces’ frontman Rod Stewart back in 1973. And while “young” and “dumb” often go hand in hand, it’s typically young people who dream of a better world – and demand one, too. On 16 June 1976, more than 20 000 black schoolchildren led a protest march in Soweto, and Youth Day now annually celebrates the courageousness of young South Africans
In Ghana, Krobo girls undergo a two-day “dipo” ceremony when young virgins are ritually bathed, eat sugar cane, drink a cocktail and have their feet “washed” with goat blood. Then they’re confined for a week while they are taught to cook, keep house and be “good wives”.
In Ethiopia’s Omo Valley, Hamar boys aged 12–16 must ritually run over the backs of up to 10 bulls in order to marry. Before leaping, the boy – naked, head partially shaved – is rubbed with sand to remove sins and bad luck, and smeared with dung to bestow strength. If he completes the task four times without falling, he may marry a woman selected by his father.
In the US, the Amish rite of passage known as RUMSPRINGA is when 16-year-olds leave their communities to try out various “worldly” diversions, such as modern clothing, movies, drinking and smoking. Around 80% return home.
Time’s 2019 Person of the Year was Greta Thunberg. 16 She was (AND 354 DAYS).
On Vanuatu, boys as young as seven or eight leap from a 30m tower with a bungee-like vine tied to their ankles as part of their coming-of-age rite of passage.
On 20 January 2022, 19-year-old Zara Rutherford became the YOUNGEST WOMAN to circumnavigate the globe on a solo flight.