Limpopo clears 35 girls for initiation

2013-05-27 22:19
Men are seen taking food to an initiation school in Verena, Mpumalanga. (Picture: Sapa)

Men are seen taking food to an initiation school in Verena, Mpumalanga. (Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Limpopo has approved 142 applicants - 107 boys and 35 girls - for the 2013 initiation season, its department of traditional affairs said on Monday.

"We are making a clarion call to all permit holders to adhere to all the initiation school prescripts," the department said in a statement.

"We also call upon parents to verify the legitimacy of initiation schools they intend to send their children to with their respective traditional authorities."

The department said there would be zero tolerance for those who ran illegal initiation schools.

There had recently been six deaths, related to initiation schools, in the province.

The department said it had sent an assessment team to the areas concerned to investigate. On 20 May, the team found there were illegal initiation schools.

One of the schools had 135 regiments (groups of children in a certain age group) with 1 005 initiates, another had 19 regiments and 305 initiates.

Illegal initiation schools

A third illegal initiation school had 16 initiates, the department said.

It had reported these schools to the police.

"We expect the law to take its course and those who are responsible must face the full might of the law. Government will not be a party to cultural practices that kill innocent people," it said.

The department said it had held meetings with all parties involved in the initiation season. In attendance were senior traditional leaders, who were sole permit holders, traditional surgeons, staff from the departments of health and traditional affairs, and the provincial police commissioner.

The purpose of the meeting was to brief all parties about precautionary measures to be followed for an incident-free initiation season.

"Attending an initiation school should continue to be a respected tradition among our communities," the department said.

"Deaths of young people who are destined to be future leaders are deplorable, worse when it happens in hands of people who are custodians of this ancient institution."

- SAPA

Read more on:    polokwane  |  culture
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