“We are a Family and Community driven initiative to Empower, Uplift the lives of girls and young women with Mentorship, Education, Life skills and Connection to their cultural heritage through African-based Rites of passage”

What is ROP?

“ If we stand tall it is only because we stand on the shoulders of our ancestors”

African Proverb

French anthropologist Arnold Van Gennep who coined the term Rites of Passage(ROP), described the concept as follows:

The life of an individual in any society is a series of passages from one age to another, progression from one group to the next is accompanied by special acts ceremonies whose essential purpose is to enable the individual to pass from one defined position in society or the community to another. During the process of passing through several stages and transversing several boundaries, the individual is modified.

It is based on African cultural practices of marking young people’s entry into adulthood by providing them with the skills, knowledge, and experiences they need to be successful, responsible, and independent adults

According the author, Yoruba priestess, professor and workshop facilitator Luisah Teisch, traditional or indigenous rites of passage systems such as in Africa have 7 major elements in common.

  • Identification: the entire community can identify who will be required experience which rite; the initiates are organized into gender based age-grade groups from birth.

  • Separation/ Isolation: Separation from ordinary life and reality, often placed in some form of isolation for ,meditation and contemplation.

  • Purification: initiates are often required to fast, refrain from certain foods, submit to celibacy or abstinence or given special medicines/ herbs to take for a period during the process.

  • Confrontation with fear: The scene from roots in which Kunta Kente is taken in a hood or a cloak or darkness by his father along with all of the other adolescent boys into the forest is a pivotal point of the character’s life. He is unsuspectingly torn away from the safety of his child hood home and everything that he has known up until this point, during the night. Up until this point his life has been pretty predictable and fairly routine. As a child one relies on their elders, especially their parents for guidance and their bear necessities. In traditional rites of passage , elders often design test of courage to help the initiate come face to face with things that they fear the most. The lesson is to acknowledge the fear and move forward with the process in spite of it.

    Development of Courage and the ability to stand up in the face of adversity /danger are essential for Character development or shaping character of a person.

  • Death and Rebirth: The concept of dying out of one stage of existence such as childhood into higher level adulthood is symbolically portrayed in either some form of dramatization, dance or act. When the little girl enters the Sacred Grove she is considered to be dying to the outside world. Through the process of initiation her parents and community are receiving a new woman and member of the community.

  • Transformation Learning: the initiate is taught inherited knowledge.

  • Reintegration and Celebration: initiates are brought back to the larger community and acknowledged with celebration and rejoicing.

Sisters of Tomorrow

On January 28, 1984, the Nairobi( East Palo Alto) chapter of Sister of Tomorrow was established and held its first ROP in 1985 under the leadership of Mama Aminifu. The community's mothers lent their time and expertise to mentor, educate, direct, instruct and prepare young females for womanhood. Since that time many more Sisters and Mamas contributed to the evolution and development of the Nairobi chapter. Mama Nozipo Wobogo, Mama Kuumba Tendaji, Mama Mosi Mirembe (who prepared an excellent working model for initiation) Mama Zalika Sykes, Mama Nobantu Ankoanda, Mama Gloria Sanders, and Mama Rubiah Zarah.
The Sisters of Tomorrow Bay Area Chapter was established in 2019 and is Directed by Ayodele Kinchen, one of the founding members of SOT (since 1985). Ayodele works in sisterhood with the like-minded rite of passage program YEWAS (Young Empowered Wombmyn Achieving Self) created/directed by Asatu Hall. These programs work in conjunction with shared participants, parents, activities, and goals. Zakiya Carr, another founding member of SOT (since 1984) and daughter of SOT creator Aminifu Sadifu established the Washington, DC area Chapter (SOT-DMV) in 2016 with Mamas Jamila Sykes and Imani Esparza. The DMV Chapter aims to relaunch with new activitssful.es in 2022.

Young Empowered Wombmyn Achieving Self

In 2006 the first official cohort of YEWAS was established in Oakland and Sacramento by Asatu Musunama Hall, Director of Sacred Grove with Rolanda Allaha Wilkins founder of Sacramento-based Earth Mama Healing, Inc. under the guidance of our elders and mentors some of who were former( SOT )mothers, founders of African-centered learning Institutions, leaders in the Pan-African movement and Cultural arts educators. Mama Upesi Mtambuzi, Yaa Titilayo Makini, Mama Shukuru Saunders, Sister Linda Johnson, Mama Ikenna Ubaka, Iya Jumoke Blue. The founding cohort was comprised of 17 girls of African descent from Oakland, Richmond, and Sacramento. We created a year-long program that culminated in a weekend ROP(initiation) and community ceremony.

Since 2006 Sacred Grove has hosted YEWAS, a free year-round program in Oakland for girls of African descent. The mission is help adolescent girls and young women of African descent make a successful, holistic transition to womanhood, to develop a Strong Sense of Self, and positive relationships with other girls and elders and learn wise decision-making skills to help them be confident and successful.

Asatu works in sisterhood with the groundbreaking Bay Area African-centered Sisters of Tomorrow led by the Ayodele Kinchen. We are blessed to have access to the wise counsel of the SOT Founding Queen Mothers Mama Nobantu Ankoanda and Mama Ikenna Ubaka.

SOT and YEWAS Sisterhood

“Strength in Sisterhood”

Our Leadership Team

Ayodele Kinchen - Owner of Duafe Designs, Director of Sisters of Tomorrow (SOT) Bay Area Chapter, Founder/Executive Director Ase' Institute - Bay Area

Asatu Musunama Hall - Founder/Director of Sacred Grove Traditions & Young Empowered Women Achieving Self (YEWAS), Co-Founder of Luna Nueva Wellness Collective

The SOT has proudly guided hundreds of sisters through the path of African womanhood. The charge of continuing to share the teachings and direction toward liberation and restitution is upon these young women. This program is an essential step toward independence and self-determination for our people.

The membership consists of young girls and women of African descent. The program initially focused on various topics of life that include history (knowing oneself), nutrition, sexuality, healthy relationships, puberty, spirituality, creative arts, hygiene, etiquette, housekeeping, leadership, liberation/ racism. To balance the mind and the body of children and adult participants, recreational activities including field trips, African dance, camping, and travel opportunities were also essential. The program has since developed to include (not limited to) educational activities exploring financial wellness, healthy social media/web habits, entrepreneurism, gardening, sustainability, and much more.

SOT is devoted to maintaining and developing African-centered traditions and culture. The extended family concept where love and respect for each of the children and each other especially our elders is emphasized. The membership is open to all sisters of African Ancestry between the ages of 7-18 years who share or are open to learning the SOT philosophy.

Since 2006 Sacred Grove has hosted YEWAS, a free year-round program in Oakland for girls of African descent ages 7-18. Our mission is to with the support family and community, help pre-adolescent and adolescent girls and young women of African descent make a successful transition to womanhood, to develop a strong sense of self, and positive relationships with other girls and elders, and learn wise decision-making skills. This is done through peer group sessions focusing on goal setting, self-care, life skills like cooking, sewing, dancing, farming, public presentations, event planning and survival skills in nature. We focus cultural awareness and pride, conflict resolution, building self-esteem, artistic and creative expression, developing spirituality, academic achievement, financial wellness/ entrepreneurship, and providing mentors as positive role models.

Since 2018 Sisters of Tomorrow and Young Empowered Wombmyn Achieving Self work in “Sisterhood”with shared participants, parents, activities, and goals.

SOT and YEWAS Pledge

As African sisters, we will always be proud of our heritage and love our Africanity

We will creatively maintain our culture with dignity and pride

We will do our best work whenever we work and complete those things, we begin

We will never disown our people for it is from them and the creator that we gather strength

We have a responsibility to be intelligent African leaders of the Future.

Because We are the Sisters of Tomorrow and Young Empowered Women Achieving Self.

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Learn more !

We invite all sisters of African Ancestry between the ages of 7-18 years who share or are open to learning the SOT-YEWAS philosophy of maintaining and developing African-centered traditions and culture, the extended family concept where love and respect for each of the children and each other especially our elders is emphasized.

YEWAS-SOT Meetings are held on 2nd and 4th Sundays, 12 pm-2 pm

The following is meeting schedule for Fall 2022-Spring 2023

September 11 and 25

October 9 and 23

November 9 and 27

December 11 and 25

January 8 and 12

February 12 and 26

March 12 and 26

April 9 and 23

May 7 and 21 **

TBA **Grandma’s Hands and Initiation/ ROP weekend

June 11

For more information about SOT and YEWAS contact us!

Mama Ayodele 650-315-4456 Mama Asatu 510-672-7926

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