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 Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks

Local Educator Releases Book about Teens and African Culture


Ayotunde Oladunjoye, also known as Sonya Mann-McFarlane, founder and director of the Lancaster-based Imani Edu-Tainers African Dance Co., has published the culmination of her research on adolescent development in a new book, Rites of Passage. The book introduces readers to the Mate Masie Rites of Passage program and discusses the positive effects of promoting cultural tradition in the young female African-American community.

Mann-McFarlane, who holds a master’s degree in health education, examines the social problem of adolescent pregnancy, which remains higher among African-American females and females of African descent than among Caucasians. She explains the success of youth development plans that have used rites of passage programs to celebrate ethnic identity and spirituality and restore traditional African values, while reinforcing respect for self and others. The book presents education and mentoring as intervention strategies that contribute to healthy, productive development in teens

Community education and interaction with African culture has been McFarlane’s focus for more than 20 years with the Imani Edu-Tainers African Dance Company and its mission to edu-tain. Along with performances, the group offers dance, drumming and other awareness-raising activities for adults, teens and children.

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