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On initiation

09 June 2013, 12:36

I remember when a turn for kids of my age came in May of 1985. I had to protest hard else my parents would never have sent me there. I'd've been like all of my five elder siblings who had to run into secret as we called it in Mapulaneng. When my parents agreed to officially send me there, I was so elated that even those in the mountain wondered how I could celebrate being "bitten by the ram" instead of crying hysterically as did every kid.

There waa a serious belief in Bushbuckridge where I grew up, that an uninitiated person will go mad or be stupid and most did look insane after their time has passed-methinks is belief since all my Mapulana relatives living in Northwest seem fine despite not having been there. Despite this fact, I do see a certai difference that I would take a long time to explain here.

The fact is that children have been dying in numbers since ever. In 1985 alone, more than 150 kids died in initiation schools. There were even more deaths in 1978 where my eldest brother was initiated. The cause of their death had nothing to do with hygien or so called excessive bleeding.

I don't want to waste my time explaining the cause of death as is as complex as the so called satanic attacks in schools, particularly during final exams; what I need to highlight is that initiation schools were very modern in 1985. The discussion about modernization started in 1980 and led to some initiation schools conducting initiation in the morning and releasing initiates to return home every evening. Those who did so never suffered any loss of life.

We did away with certain dangerous practices as ukuthwala. We can afford to let go of this one-in fact we almost did in 1989.

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