Gender over the Life Cycle

Though there are no formal age-sets as such, there are terms for the various stages in life. Ola-pe is the term for children from birth to about 4 or 5 years old. Tsetseya-pe refers to those from about age 6 to 12 or 13. Elati-nakwete refers to boys during their teens and up till they get married at about 18-20. Tlakwenakweko is the term for girls in their teens up until they marry at about 17. Elati is the term for adults of both sexes, elati-ka-eh is the term for someone who has already had two or three children, pa-nekwete is the term for a person about 45-60 years old, pa-nekwete-ka-eh refers to someone in their seventies, and balambala is someone who is really old and becoming frail.

Girls undergo a puberty ritual. To become men (epeme men), males should kill a large game animal. There is no noticeable generation gap. Teenagers get along with older men and women. The absence of tension between younger and older men is less than in many other cultures because polygyny is rare and so competition between them for women is less intense. In addition, since there is no wealth, there is no threat of disinheritance that older men can hold over their sons to control their behavior. However, there is some tendency recently for males in their late teens and early twenties, especially in larger camps, to try to act tough, for example, in negotiations with outsiders, to cultivate a reputation and gain status as an alternative to being a good hunter. This can lead to disagreements with the elders who are less confrontational.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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