Taking a snip from KZN’s scalpels

2013-07-14 14:00

In the small town of Kokstad on the border of KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape, not a single initiate death has been recorded in 10 years.

This is because initiation schools are strictly controlled by a traditional initiation committee known as Indlondlo.

Indlondlo chairman Benny Khomo said: “We do not take chances with the lives of the initiates – if any of them becomes sick during the initiation, he is taken to hospital immediately to avoid complications.”

The Indlondlo approached the KZN health department two years ago to ask if it could work with them to ensure that no initiate landed up in hospital.

A relationship was forged between the committee and the local EG Usher Memorial Hospital. The hospital now screens initiates for high blood pressure, diabetes and sexually transmitted infections before they go to initiation school. The hospital gives traditional surgeons prepacked medical supplies and sterilised equipment to circumcise the initiates. It trained traditional surgeons on infection control.

Two years later, 442 boys have passed through three initiation schools and only one had to go to hospital. KZN health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said: “The partnership is an example of how well government and traditional leaders can work together to save the lives of initiates while preserving African traditions.”

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