Villagers regard initiation school as a racket

st AENSinitiation school2 AENS FILE PHOTO: Young men are seen graduating from an initiation school at Ngove village near Giyani. PHOTO BY: Orlando Chauke/AENS

Orlando Chauke

A Limpopo community has objected to an initiation school that was opened without consulting the local villagers.

Residents of Shawela village near Giyani are accusing headman William Manganyi of operating an initiation school against their wishes.

“The community was called in and notified about the running of the school without any prior consultation. The community is unhappy that the headman acts alone most of the time and does not care about the public’s views,” community leader Ben Baloyi said yesterday.

He said the community did not want an initiation school in the area because it would disturb schooling and that some boys would “go to the mountain” without consulting their parents.

“They go there for over a month, and schools only close for a few weeks.

“Our kids are unnecessarily inconvenienced when they have the option of going to modern doctors for circum- cision,” he said.

Other residents complained about the exorbitant fees charged at initiation schools.

“Once your child goes there you’d have to pay R350 for admission. On top of that, you send food there every day – morning and evening,” said Mthavine Ngoveni.

He said parents also had to hire someone to mentor their sons on the mountain, which was more expensive than medical circumcision.

“This is even more burdensome because some of us don’t have work,” said Ngoveni.

When contacted for comment, Manganyi denied he had not consulted his people.

“They are lying,” said Manganyi, refusing to comment further.

The chairman of the initiation task team at the Limpopo House of Traditional Leaders, Khosi Vusani Netshimbupfe, was aware of the concerns in Shawela village.

He said there were currently 211 approved initiation schools in the province, 58 of which are in the Mopani municipal district. – African Eye News Service