Excuse me but I find the practice of initiation schools as just a veneer, a ruse, of what we would otherwise call human slaughterhouses. And, under normal circumstances, you would ordinarily have such slaughterhouses being permanently shut down and those devilish owners with passionate greed for money at the expense of lives of young ones being sent to prison forever.
But this is a cultural imperative, a tradition among blacks (I don't know if other races practice it). My understanding is that it used to be a lot more safer back in the day, plus it apparently served some grand societal purpose. For instance, it is said that a transformative agenda is set for the 'boys' in order for them to emerge as 'men' who know their role at home and in communities.
Inculcated in them is how best to treat and most importantly protect children, women, the environment, and to lead life in accordance with certain mores. I don't know, but a colleague of mine says what he took from there is the acumen of responsibility. Pretty noble, all that.
But right now the avaricious head honchos have turned this tradition into a money making scheme, killing young boys in the process. That is far from noble. It is outrageous. It must be condemned.
Last night I came across a report in one of the newspapers that said "close to 490 boys have died in initiation schools in three provinces in the past six years and a further 455 628 were hospitalised because of circumcision related complications, an investigation has revealed."
The report went on to say "...many of the deaths recorded in the Eastern Cape happened in 2009 (91) and last year, when 83 boys died. Mpumalanga also saw a spike during the same years. In 2009, the province recorded 15 deaths and last year the figure shot up to 42."
Now we should all be affronted and up in arms, demanding the closure of all these slaughterhouses. Our children cannot be lynched like this under our watch. It just can't be happening.
In response to this madness, Health Minister Aaron Motswaledi is reported to have said that "his department had set aside R180-million to support safe circumcisions at initiation schools in 2014/15. Support will include health screening for all initiates at approved legal initiation schools, as well as the provision of medical consumables and transport for initiation monitoring teams."
Now how will pumping tax money in the way of mischievous sprites convert them into sweet little things all of a sudden, I wonder?
It is my view that this tradition should not necessarily be obliterated. No, not with such a substantial section of our society subscribing to it.
What I instead want to suggest is the modernisation of the practice, especially if we want to continue exploiting the good it is believed to generate.
Why do we not make this practice part of the school system? I mean, we could have these boys - the ones who are interested, get all their 'education' offered to them in one safe centre. The content of the 'training' could also be documented into books and in that way preserved forever. My comrades in Sadtu, do not be overly terrified by the prospect of you having to work a bit more, please. Comrade Motswaledi from your sister department has a lot of money, clearly. He surely wouldn't mind to properly equip those head honchos and their associates to properly administer this new section of our schooling system. Plus we would not have the boys missing out on one activity because they must attend the other.
Simply put, I say drag all these mountains from the bushes to schools, and have the circumcision conducted by medical practitioners from nearby clinics in conjunction with the bush teachers.
As for me, one day when my son is old enough and bizarrely decides to go to the slaughterhouse as we know it today, it will not be for the reason that I did not discourage him.