We are dy­ing for cul­ture

The Citizen (KZN) - - Letters - Kekeletso Nakeli-Dh­li­wayo

Women carry these boys for nine months, raise them painstak­ingly for 18 years, and hand them over to us for a short pe­riod, only for us to kill them in six weeks. These were the words of an Eastern Cape MEC who has grown weary of the re­peated, al­most ex­pected ini­ti­a­tion deaths yearly.

When Inxeba was re­leased, a movie cast­ing light on the prac­tice of cir­cum­ci­sion prac­tices in isiXhosa cul­ture, the furore that en­sued was be­yond mea­sure: it made a mock­ery of Africans; the sa­cred act is not for en­ter­tain­ment... Yet there was never an ac­knowl­edg­ment of the movie’s truths.

Now jump to 2019: Inxeba comes alive, yet again.

I am not one to call into question cul­tural prac­tices, even as I grew up in the house of a man of staunch African be­liefs, a man who strug­gled to con­tain this child of Western in­flu­ence…

I grew up to question what is the right to be and free­dom of ex­pres­sion … So my question is not should the prac­tice be con­tin­ued, but rather on how it can be made safer to avoid the loss of lives.

While all things do evolve, so too must this prac­tice. We are headed to the Fourth In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion, how we can con­tinue to bury our chil­dren over a sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure that can be per­formed within an hour?

Are our cul­tural prac­ti­tion­ers will­ing to sit at ta­bles and dis­cuss the core is­sues? Have these very prac­ti­tion­ers been bold enough to voice their chal­lenges, what may lead to these deaths?

Let us have open di­a­logue, be­cause the in­abil­ity to com­mu­ni­cate is the main rea­son why moth­ers stand at grave­sides of their chil­dren.

One child buried is too many. While it may be easy to lay the blame on the gov­ern­ment, we can­not. Par­ents must take re­spon­si­bil­ity. Do they send their kids to a ini­ti­a­tion school based on hearsay? Is it based on cheap­est is best or is it based on reg­is­tra­tion, qual­i­fi­ca­tion and tes­ti­mo­ni­als?

Are we send­ing our chil­dren to these moun­tains be­cause we have a be­lief in the process? I doubt it, In my eyes these schools are in it for the profit.

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