Traditional leaders march against initiation school law

2017-06-09 06:00
Photo: siphelele nketoMarchers wave placards at the march.

Photo: siphelele nketoMarchers wave placards at the march.

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ON Monday more than 1 000 traditional leaders and community members of Matatiele, Maluti and Mount Fletcher marched against the government law that prohibits under-age boys from going to initiation schools.

The march took place in Matatiele and was watched over by the SAPS. Marchers carried placards with messages of “18 must fall” and “hands off our custom”.

They called on government to allow boys to go to initiation schools from the age of 16, as opposed to government’s 18. They also called on government to stop politicising their custom.

Spokesperson for initiation practitioners in Matatiele, Maluti and Mount Fletcher, Dickson Nyakallo Nahome said only allowing 18-year-old and older boys to go to initiation is problematic because at that age they are in Grade 12, which is a class that demands the pupil’s undivided attention.

“According to our custom, we send our boys to initiation schools from the age of 16 and they always return home healthy. Before we send the boys to initiation schools, we follow traditional processes and as a result we experience zero deaths of initiates in the area,” said Nahome.

Marchers said the practice was initiated years ago and ethnic groups - Xhosa, Sotho, Hlubi and Tlokoa - practice the custom the way they were taught by their elders.

A committee was established to address challenges experienced they sent a submission to government on how the custom must be treated, but none of their submissions were considered.

The memorandum marchers handed over was accepted by SAPS cluster commander in Matatiele and Mount Fletcher, Kabelo Makeke who promised to deliver it to the relevant government department.

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