Among Zulus: a ceremony performed to mark the transition from childhood to adolescence or adulthood; this transition itself, puberty. Also attributive.
1936E.J. KrigeSocial System of Zulus 87The attainment of physical maturity..is made the occasion for an important ceremony, called the Thomba. The girl’s puberty ceremony is sometimes called uDwa, but the use of this word is rapidly dying out.
1955E.A. RitterShaka Zulu 8Two or three years after having reached the period of sexual maturity, uku-tomba — which occurs with the Zulus anywhere between the age of fourteen and a half and nineteen years — the boy moved up another rung on the scholastic ladder.
1978A. ElliottSons of Zulu 142There is a definite intention in the puberty ceremony (thomba) to reinforce the boy as a person and bring him closer to his ancestral spirits.
1987L. NkosiMating Birds 43I was fourteen.., a boy looking much older..but as yet to undergo the thomba initiation ceremony.
1988New Nation 30 June (Learning Nation) 1When boys were between the age of 12 and 14 they underwent a puberty ceremony known as the ‘thomba’.
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