First summer season initiate dies in the Eastern Cape
‘Traditional nurse nowhere to be found’
The Eastern Cape has recorded the first initiate to die since the 2022 summer initiation season started on November 4.
Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders chair Nkosi Mpumalanga Gwadiso confirmed the death of the initiate from Mdantsane.
“We are still investigating claims that the deceased was declared medically unfit by doctors, but parents forced the boy to be circumcised,” Gwadiso said.
Co-operative governance MEC Zolile Williams said some doctors and nurses were not properly screening prospective initiates.
“The ignorance of medical practitioners is contributing to the deaths and injuries of initiates. The government will take steps against those medical practitioners.”
He said he had reported the problem to health MEC Nomakhosazana Meth.
Police provincial commissioner Lt-Gen Nomthetheleli Mene, speaking at a launch of the 16 Days of Activism campaign in Centane on Saturday, said: “So many young lives have been lost ... So many young men have lost their manhood and been assaulted.
“Every season we count the number of dead initiates instead of celebrating their coming into manhood.”
Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders senior manager Vuyo Stofile said: “It is a sad reality that the Eastern Cape is the most affected province as far as abuse of initiates is concerned.” He said parents needed to ensure boys were psychologically and physically fit before initiation.
BCM Traditional Surgeon Association chair Andile Siko posted on Facebook, urging men to make the custom safer. “My heart is broken,” he said. “I visited the family [of the deceased initiate] and I witnessed how devastated his mother was.
“All she wants is answers about her child, but the traditional nurse who was looking after him is nowhere to be found.”