Traditional leaders give tips to curb initiation deaths

2013-05-25 12:07

Eastern Cape local government and traditional affairs MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane will lead a delegation of role players in visiting initiation schools in Mbizana as the notorious and often deadly initiation season starts.

Qoboshiyane’s department, in collaboration with the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders (ECHTL), today released tips they hope will help curb the deaths of initiates in the province.

This intervention, the most rigorous by the province in many years, comes in the wake of the deaths of 33 initiates in Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

In the June initiation season last year, the Eastern Cape had one of its highest initiation deaths with 49 initiates losing their lives. Hundreds more were admitted to hospitals.

In December about 20 initiates died while others had their penises amputated.

Last year government allocated R20 million to curb deaths of initiates in the province.

Qoboshiyane said his delegation will include traditional leaders, health officials and police, with their specific focus on areas that have been affected by deaths and amputations in the past.

These areas were mostly in Pondoland.

Qoboshiyane praised the ECHTL for being instrumental in formulating tips to be used by all involved in the practice.

“We are happy that the provincial house of traditional leaders is playing a good role in ensuring zero deaths and amputations. The house has produced the handy tips we release today,” Qoboshiyane said.

The MEC said the “handy educational and information tips” detailed proper processes to be followed by young boys, families, iiNkosi (traditional), traditional surgeons (iiNgcibi), traditional nurses (AmaKhankatha), parents and communities at large in preparation for the traditional initiation of their boys to manhood.

“These handy tips are clear for anyone to understand. And we call on our communities to follow them to the letter to ensure that the initiation of their young boys is not fraught with deaths, abuse and amputations,” he said.

Some of the educational tips for traditional initiation

This is what is expected from each of the following role players when preparing for the traditional initiation:

Young boys/Inkwenkwe

» Obtain parental, family or guardian consent and permission

» Abstain from stewed tripe meat and alcohol

» Abstain from sexual intercourse closer to the month of the initiation

» He must respect his community and respect people’s assets

Ingcibi/Traditional Surgeon

» Must abstain from the following:

- Sexual intercourse

- From drinking alcohol

» After circumcising the boy, iNgcibi examines them to ensure all was done properly and there are no errors *He consults men in the community to inspect his work to ensure that there are no errors

» He visits iBhoma (initiation school) to check on the initiates

Ikhankatha/Traditional Nurse

» Must stay eBhomeni (initiation school) with abakhwetha (initiates) until the end of the initiation period.

» Must train abakhwetha on being a man, which includes the fact that:

- A man doesn’t abuse females

- A man doesn’t rape

- A man is the protector and provider of his family and the nation

Things not allowed eBhomeni (Initiation schools)

» People who are not amakhankatha (traditional nurse) are not allowed eBhomeni

» Females and children must not go to eBhomeni

» Alcohol, dagga, drugs are not allowed eBhomeni

» Abakhwetha are not allowed to use cellphones while they are in the initiation school

» Parents and amaKhankatha must agree on the type of food to be taken to eBhomeni

» Constructing amaBhoma using plastics and zinc is not allowed

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