Umemulo ila kusuke kukhuliswa futhi kubongwa intombazane ngokuziphatha kahle yaze yafika esigabeni esithile sempilo, okulawulwa iminyaka yayo intombazane. Ngokujwayelekile kumuliswa intshikizane esuke isineminyaka engamashumi amabili nanye noma nambili kuyaphezulu.
Uma umnumzane ezomulisa indodakazi yakhe eziphathe kahle, uyaye ayihlabele inkomo yomemulo kodwa ngaphambi kokuba kwenziwe lokho, uyaye ahlabe imbuzi ebike emsamo kwabadala emadlozini asekhaya ukuthi uzokwenza umcimbi wendodakazi eziphathe kahle yagcina ubuntombi bayo yaze yakhula ngokwanele. Uma intombazane yemuliswa, ubaba wayo usuke eseyinika igunya lokuthi isingaqoma.
Uma kulungiselelwa umemulo wentokazi, kuyaywe kugaywe utshwala besiZulu maseke kuthengwa nobesilungu ngoba nabo abantu bayabuphuza. Kuyaye kumenywe izihlobo zalowomndeni kanye nomphakathi osuke uzohalalisela uphinde ubungaze kanye nomndeni kulolusuku. Lenkomo esuke ihlatshelwe lentombazane emuliswayo, kuthathwa umhlehlwe wayo osuke uzogqokwa ngakusasa esigcawini ubekwe emsamo ngoba inkomo ayidliwa ngelanga ehlatshwe ngalo.
Ngelanga lomemulo kuyaye kuyiwe esigcawini lapho khona intombi isuke izodlala esigcawini igqoke lomhlwehlwe wenkomo ehlatshelwe yona uyise eyobonga ngayo. Uma uke wadabuka lowomhlwehlwe esigcawini noma wawa waphelela phansi lokho kusho ukuthi lentombazane emuliswayo ayisesiyona intombi nto noma itshitshi.
Kuyihlazo elikhulu kakhulu ukuthi intombazane iwelwe umhlwehlwe esigcawini ngoba isuke ingaphoxanga abazali nomndeni wayo kuphela, kodwa isuke iziphoxe ngisho yona uqobo. Esigcawini kuyavunulwa izintombi zigide ingoma nezinsizwa zigiye ziqephuze. Uma kuwukuthi intombi ibisikhethiwe abasekhweni layo bayaye bayakhe ngemali nangezingubo zokulala okutshengisa ubudlelwane obuhle phakathi kwemindeni yomibili.
Umemulo is the celebration in which the father of the household cherishes and embraces the fact that his daughter has respected and not given away her virginity up until a certain age. The father than traditionally celebrates that by slaughtering a cow, more often an ox, as a way of showing gratitude. Before the ritual or the ceremony, the father will firstly have to slaughter a goat to report to the ancestors about the ceremony to take place, in which traditional beer will be brewed. Thereafter the relatives are invited to be part of the celebration, as well as the community as the co-hosts of the celebration.
Umemulo signifies and embraces the Zulu tradition that girls are prohibited to be sexually active up until a certain age, in which they will be rewarded in front of the whole community and celebrated. It is no secret that in the Zulu nation, in all its corners, that virginity is a precious thing and that girls are taught at a young age to be responsible for themselves.
Siboniso Langa is a content generator, researcher and practising poet. His work focuses on Zulu oral and material culture, its promotion and preservation. He holds an Honours degree in Community and Development studies from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).