Motsoaledi slams 'criminal' initiations

2013-07-08 09:03

Johannesburg - Illegal initiation schools have turned the circumcision culture into "something criminal", Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said in The Times newspaper on Monday.

"The mushrooming of initiation schools is seen every single day in Eastern Cape. Hooligans... tsotsis take advantage and prey on this custom.

"It has turned into something criminal and no longer has anything to do with culture. Young lives are being destroyed," said the minister.

The Eastern Cape health department said at the weekend that 30 initiates had died from circumcision-related injuries and nearly 300 had been hospitalised.

"Some parents are blackmailed into paying for their children's safety," said Motsoaledi.

"Because of the belief that children must be left at these initiation schools, parents do not report them missing to the police in fear of going against tradition."

  • Squeegee Pilot - 2013-07-08 09:08

    If a single child died at a church camp - even by accident, there would be a government inquiry, huge outrage, etc. Double standards are being applied when it comes to 'black' culture. This is a massacre. Hundreds die every year. The media is complicit by publishing only province by province. Tell us the whole story...

      procold2 - 2013-07-08 10:21

      tradition is fine but why not have these camps properly set up safe and whoever is doing the snipping trained properly,we hear year after year of deaths at these so called schools.

      Geoff Liddiard - 2013-07-08 12:00

      A move into the 21st Century will stop all these deaths!

  • David Campbell - 2013-07-08 09:12

    There's one in my place. Please come and stop it before many die. Its in Matibidi,Graskop

  • RabbleRouser - 2013-07-08 09:26

    Is that the best they can do. They just slam the symptoms but do absolutely nothing about it. There something wrong with a culture that continues in this manner in which hundred die very year. Yet the leaders allow it to continue.

  • Mahlatse Patience - 2013-07-08 09:30

    Why are parents still send their childrens at initiation schools while they hear on radios' and tvs' that,many initiates have died since this winter?why parent are they still ignorance?what is the difference between hospital and tradition circumsation?please people must wake up,this is not good.and the community must must do something whenever they hear someone is opening initiation school as from now on.professional doctors and male nurses must be available if they won't ban these schools.

  • Singatha Jongihlati - 2013-07-08 09:39

    "parents do not report them missing to the police in fear of going against tradition." The sheer stupidity,boggles the mind.Not if it were my son.Now it's traditional to be blackmailed?I give up.

  • CliveK - 2013-07-08 09:52

    Then, for goodness sake, do something about it, Minister. All you and your cabinet colleagues can do is talk, talk, talk, even when urgent action is called for. No one is suggesting that this cultural practice be stopped, but some form of control is needed. After all, thousands of Jewish babies are circumcised each year, and I bet deaths are virtually unheard of. Why? Because the operation is done under clean and sanitised conditions. Wake up, government, this has been going on for years, and every year hands are thrown up in horror .. and nothing is done about it.

  • Lindy Jeffery - 2013-07-08 10:00

    Someone is finally waking up!! Eureka!!

  • Thanduxolo Galada - 2013-07-08 10:11

    There is nothing special about what happens there. No instruction on values, humility, service. It is only about enduring the pain, not of circumcision but the healing without western medicine. I did the rite in 2006 in Mthatha. All it's about is egos, defending yourself through words when tested about you proving you were there and if you blunder...guess what? You get up again through a bottle of brandy. Say what you will but there's very little substance just form, we been doing this...blah blah blah. The best values are learnt at home not in that place. But for sake of being accepted in the community you do it and all after that it's about alcohol, drunks, drunks in the name of ancestors. Before I'm accused of appeasing whites or sell out: you often have to go through something/a system to see how futile/valueless it is for you. And this is one of those rituals are used for an agenda of mucho/ego/conflict/drunk/alcoholics. Once they are "men" they speak rudely to elders cause now they are men, equal to elders this often happens when alcohol is around, then they have the guts to be vultures. Substance over form, lacking here.

  • Thanduxolo Galada - 2013-07-08 10:24

    Did you know Distell and SABMiller through no fault of their own rake in millions out of this farce. It's disrespectful to call it farce cause people believe in it. Commando Brandy, Smirnoff, Castle, Hansa, Black Label by the cases mind you! Each time one of the boys go in they bring a bottle, money and when they come out a bottle brandy. Then the festivities, a moment of ancestor calling and alcohol into the next morning, days especially in December. Gout, high blood pressure, smoking, alcoholics who aren't aware they are. I don't drink mind you, well my SoCo and lime cocktail is not on the menu just hard liquor. Squabbling and conflict of whose a man and proving it. Tribalism, feeling superior that Xhosa are better by virtue of initiation. Sad that what was once valuable and now this.

  • Charles A. - 2013-07-08 10:30

    Every parent, who sent and paid for their child to go to an initiation school, without veriyfing the credentials of the school should be charged with child neglect. Simple. They are the custodians of their children and should make sure they are safe. This is a stupid excercise.

  • Qhama Bona - 2013-07-08 10:33

    One of the great tragedies of recent times is how these criminals have messed up a great custom. In Xhosa culture, when a boy goes to the initiation school it is one of the best moments for him and his family. One cannot even begin to fathom the excitement and pride the boy and his family experience. When the boy goes to the initiation school, the whole village is 100% behind the boy. The singing that comes when the boy goes to the bush is also a major highlight. In essence that whole period is sacred and one cannot put into words how beautiful it is. Then what happens at the initiation school is also important because these initiates are taught how to approach the various challenges they will come across in life and how to become role-models to future generations. Then the ceremony when the boy comes back from the initiation school is a day filled with a distinct atmosphere and a great deal of camaraderie amongst the people who attend this ceremony. The graduating initiate is showered with gifts as elders (men and women) offer words of wisdom to the young man. Now it might be done like from everywhere around the country but this is basically what happens. Having said that though, one cannot be oblivious to the blatant misuse of this great cultural practice. It is a travesty of justice that these vultures who misuse this custom for their own selfish ends which results in these avoidable deaths. Don't ban the custom, it would be better if there are strict regulations.

  • Muke Matshaba - 2013-07-08 10:40

    Charge anyone whose initiation school loses an initiate with schedule 6 murder charge,,ul see all this nonsenses disappearing forever .

  • Maru Sebata - 2013-07-08 10:49

    Human rights, Culture & best Constitution in th world r 2 blame. Whn other youngsters 4rm USA invent facebooks, etc. our bros die in th bush. M sure Whites,Indians& Colourds r questioning our wisdom as Africans! This things reflect on all of us as blacks! We shd hang th culprits & ban these rubbish!!!

  • Bibi Shakwane - 2013-07-08 10:51

    Has anyone ever been arrested and convicted for this?

  • Phae Rayden - 2013-07-08 12:18

    All cultures had initiation ceremonies of some sort in their history, but most have adapted them to modern interpretations. We have evolved far enough in understanding of how to reach our deeper selves without brutality, starvation and physical stress. Its time people were educated enough to know they have the right to question and refuse anyone who takes their child away, without doubting themselves for a second.

  • Washie Majola - 2013-07-08 12:30

    How about hve all, circumcision done at hospitals and clinics, theafter make it an entry to these initiation, schools. Traditional leaders then create culture handy books for their tribes and boys get educated about their tribes

  • Annalie Badenhorst - 2013-07-08 12:40

    If an incident would have happened at the high school which his children attended in Limpopo, he would have do everything in his power to recitify the problem at any cost. But because this is ::a black culture:: thing, he can only voices some nonsense but do do nothing to prohibit this actions.

  • Mziwanda Mangwane - 2013-07-08 12:41

    I feel very sorry to those who lost their lives trying to be man. But someone has to face the ramification of being ignorant

  • Karien De Waal - 2013-07-08 12:48

    And imagine the trauma of amputations!? For what?? This has GOT to stop!!!

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