CityPress - - News -

tra­di­tional lead­ers, po­lice, nurses and a doc­tor, City Press wit­nessed how some of the ini­ti­a­tion schools still flouted ba­sic rules such as not giv­ing ini­ti­ates drink­ing wa­ter.

In all the three ini­ti­a­tion schools vis­ited by the team on Wed­nes­day at Go­dini vil­lage, ini­ti­ates had not had a single drop of wa­ter for days.

This was de­spite an aware­ness cam­paign that was put in place to ed­u­cate tra­di­tional sur­geons about the dan­gers of the prac­tice, which of­ten leads to de­hy­dra­tion and death. It is com­mon prac­tice among those who run ini­ti­a­tion schools to pre­vent ini­ti­ates from drink­ing wa­ter be­cause they be­lieve that do­ing so helps the ini­ti­ates heal faster.

At one ini­ti­a­tion school, an 18-year-old ini­ti­ate had not had wa­ter for 11 days. Tak­ing care of him were boys aged 16 and 17, who claimed to have been cir­cum­cised last December. The per­son re­spon­si­ble for the three ini­ti­a­tion schools, who is known as Nk­wenkwe, was found to be prac­tis­ing il­le­gally and is on the po­lice’s wanted list.

Pro­fes­sional nurses and the doc­tor treated some of the ini­ti­ates for mi­nor in­fec­tions on site.

Fik­ile Xasa, the MEC of co­op­er­a­tive gov­er­nance and tra­di­tional af­fairs, said the re­cent fa­tal in­ci­dent at a Qumbu ini­ti­a­tion school had em­bar­rassed the prov­ince.

“We have ar­rested a num­ber of these so-called tra­di­tional sur­geons. For now, we are bat­tling with en­forc­ing the law and learn­ing some lessons,” he said.

He said a num­ber of tra­di­tional lead­ers were now seek­ing ad­vice on how to deal with il­le­gal ini­ti­a­tion schools and the issue of the cir­cum­ci­sion of boys who are younger than 18, which is against the law.

Xasa said some of the young boys fraud­u­lently used the iden­tity doc­u­ments of their older broth­ers to go to ini­ti­a­tion schools.

“I would not say they are dy­ing be­cause of that, but if you go to Pon­doland, young boys of 10, 13 and 14 are get­ting cir­cum­cised.”

He said he grew up re­spect­ing and even fear­ing the ini­ti­a­tion process, and was sur­prised that un­der­age boys were suc­cumb­ing to peer pres­sure and im­pa­tience to get cir­cum­cised de­spite the dan­ger.

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