A man is not a man until he goes through inemba dance ceremony. Inemba 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 inemba dance.
Inemba takes place in odd years – what we call female year or “kumwakha kumukhaana.”
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.
Inemba is commonly performed among the Wanaale and Mubuuya clans. Notably they are held in Buwagogo, Buwabwala, Bupoto, Bukigai, Bulucheke, Bubiita in Manafwa, Bududa and Namisindwa districts. It is also performed in Busano and Bufumbo in Mbale district.
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.
These clans meet in the same place as previously done and then all make for the place where the inemba dance is taking place. The dance takes three days with a rest day between which is two days continuous dance.
The drums played are two and are specially made – one is a long with one end covered with a double skin and the lower end open – the second drum called indonyi is much smaller. Both drums are strictly played by men who braved the knife, have sons and are culturally respected.
Inemba dancers hold specially prepared long stuffs and dance going round the drumming area. At the end of each rhythm, dancers point to Bumutoto in salutation of a place where imbalu started.
Inemba ceremony aimed at admitting initiates into the society of adults – basaani. It also provides an avenue for these young men to meet young women whom they can make their future wives for the continuation of the people who can make future generations.