INE’MBA – THE LAST IMBALU DANCE
A man is not a man until he goes through ine’mba ceremony. Ine’mba is the last dance that ushers an initiate into manhood. It is a ceremony that confirms newly circumcised men as full members of society. The chronology of events from ifuumbo to isonja to all forms of dances – kadodi, tsinyimba, bitsetse – all end with the celebration of ine’mba dance.
Ine’mba takes place in odd years – what we call female year or “kumwakha kwebakhaana.” Normally, a particular clan is always appointed to prepare for the occasion. The clan in question must provide five items – a goat, local millet beer (busela bwe buulo), chicken and money.
Ine’mba is commonly performed among the Wanaale and Mubuuya clans. It starts with the clans of Busano and Bufumbo in Mbale district. It proceeds to the clans Buwagogo, Buwabwala, Bupoto, Bukigai, Bulucheke, Bubiita in Manafwa, Bududa and Namisindwa districts. Fresh men are dressed in the new skins – tsitwati – and wear around their necks garlands made of a crepe called kamabwombwabwombwe.
At the opening of the ceremony, the newly circumcised are instituted for the last and major time – but related clans almost follow the traditional paths which are followed on the circumcision day. Shouting, yelling and blowing of beer are all carried out as it was done before.
Ine’mba dancers hold specially prepared long stuffs and dance going round the drumming area. At the end of each rhythm, dancers point to Mutoto in salutation of a place where imbalu started.