Nyaope, asthma to blame for initiation deaths in Mpumalanga - traditional authorities

2016-06-08 17:03
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Mbombela - Mpumalanga traditional authorities have blamed nyaope and asthma for the deaths of two initiates in the province recently.

The first initiate died at an initiation school in Emalahleni, while the other died in Verena.

"Both these initiates died last week. This will appear bad, but one of the two boys went to initiation school while his family was trying to get him off the street. He was addicted to nyaope on a serious note," said House of Traditional Leaders chairperson Kgoshi Mathupa Mokoena on Wednesday.

"So, they sent him to the initiation school while he was weak. The parents could not stop him from taking drugs, so they believed if he could stay at the school he would become alright. Unfortunately his condition was severe."

Mokoena said there that those tasked with ensuring there were no deaths at any initiation school this year had not been negligent.

"The boy who was addicted to nyaope - our task team and the Ingoma Forum, which includes male nurses, confirmed that it was not the negligence of the initiation school, but he died because he came while he was sick. He did not get any medication that could help him detox… [and clean] the nyaope from his body," said Mokoena.

Parents' own negligence

"When he died, his parents did not open a criminal case because [they]... know the reason. As we speak, he has already been buried. He was laid to rest last weekend."

Mokoena said he had not yet established how old the initiates were when they died.

"The second one went to the initiation school while suffering from asthma. When the asthma started attacking him, the initiation school management contacted his parents, asking that they bring him his medication, including the spray.

"The parents promised to do so, but did not. One evening, the asthma attacked the boy so severely that he died. The parents agreed that it was their own negligence that led to the boy's death," said Mokoena.

More details on the deaths were not immediately available.

Deaths a lesson

"We would like to send our condolences to the families who lost their sons. I am personally pleading with parents to make sure that if their child is sick they send them to the initiation school with medication," he said.

In March this year, Mpumalanga Health MEC Gillion Mashego urged boys and men in the province to undergo medical screening before going to traditional circumcision schools.

Mashego said the initiates’ deaths had been a lesson to the department to intensify the medical assistance and health screening it provides to prevent more fatalities and other health issues related to initiation schools.

"Provision of health screening includes screening for TB, HIV and diabetes," he said.

Provincial health department spokesperson Dumisani Malamule was not immediately available for comment.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  narcotics

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