Initiates bear the brunt

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IOL pic jan28 circumcision bush camp generic Associated Press National legislation or regulations are needed to tackle the problems associated with initiations in the country, Western Cape cultural affairs MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said. File photo: Schalk van Zuydam

Cape Town - More than half a million boys have been admitted to hospital after botched traditional circumcisions since 2008, according to a new report.

Released on Tuesday, the report said dangerous commercialisation of tradition was fuelling the rise of illegal initiation schools in which drug abuse and violence could be rampant.

In the past seven years, about 456 000 initiates were admitted to hospital in the Eastern Cape and Limpopo alone, according to the report from the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities.

Based on community consultations, it also highlighted that at least 419 boys had died in the two provinces in the same period.

According to National House of Traditional Leaders representatives, three deaths were recorded in Mpumalanga and one in the Eastern Cape since the start of the latest initiation seasons there.

As part of updating its original 2006 research on traditional initiation, the commission partnered with the SA Human Rights Commission to conduct public hearings.

During these hearings, parents expressed fears about the prevalence of violence and drug use among illegally operated schools, as well as the exorbitant fees they had to pay.

Health-e News Service

Cape Times

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