Contralesa backs call for initiation school on Table Mountain

2015-07-15 12:07

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Cape Town - Traditional leaders in the Western Cape have backed a proposal for traditional initiations on Table Mountain and believe land should be set aside for the practices of other cultures too.

“It is important that culture is not oppressed, because a nation without culture is not a nation,” provincial Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA chair Aaron Messelaar said on Wednesday.

Messelaar, who is administrator of the Griqua Royal House, said 35 traditional leaders met with the ANC Youth League in Langa at the weekend to discuss its proposal for setting aside a portion of the Table Mountain National Park for initiations.

The leaders represented ethnic groups such as the amaXhosa, abaThembu and the amaHlubi.

“We fully support the initiative. The faces of boys have already been unveiled to the public because their initiation is around houses and we feel it’s not good,” he said.

“We know that Table Mountain is a national heritage site and if government don’t want to give a portion, then there is other land near mountains like Worcester, Ceres and Grabouw.”

Contralesa decided it would request a joint meeting with Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi and Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti, to see whether they could help them find a piece of land.

Earlier this month, the youth league said the national reserve was suitable to host initiates from around the province as it was private, mountainous and spacious. It bemoaned a lack of suitable space for this African tradition.

The league has yet to release details such as how much space it needs and what portion of land it has identified.

Both Table Mountain National Park spokesperson Merle Collins and SANParks national spokesperson Reynold Thakhuli said on Tuesday that they had yet to receive an official proposal.

Read more on:    contralesa  |  sanparks  |  cape town  |  culture

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