Members of the Somagwaza Institute inspect an additional initiation site to be used to accommodate more initiates as existing sites are expected to be full.
Members of the Somagwaza Institute inspect an additional initiation site to be used to accommodate more initiates as existing sites are expected to be full.

Initiation practice expected to resume soon in the Western Cape

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Mar 23, 2021

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Cape Town - Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC Anroux Marais is expected to make an announcement on the reopening of the initiation practice in the province soon, following engagements with traditional leaders and custodians of the custom over the weekend.

The winter initiation season is expected to resume on June 1 after the custom was suspended last year due to lockdown regulations.

Marais said the department, with stakeholders, came up with the road map for the implementation of the initiation practice in the Western Cape. She said while the initiation practice was not allowed, the province adopted a proactive approach.

“The department is currently in the process of training culture practitioners and members of initiation forums to be equipped in ’the new norm of the sector’ to be ready to resume safe initiation practice as soon as the province receives the green light to proceed.

“The department is also preparing documentation which will pave the way for the reopening of the initiation in the province, subject to approval by the national government after the risk-adjusted standing operation procedures and, most important, subject to the progression of the pandemic with the third wave on the horizon,” she said.

Marais said only those who have attended the training will be allowed to participate should initiation schools be opened.

Meanwhile, the Somagwaza Institute inspected additional initiation sites which will be used as alternatives as existing sites are expected to be crowded.

“Somagwaza Institute chairperson Sikelela Zokufa said the winter initiation season will be prolonged as the prospective initiates will be accommodated in phases.

“As opposed to the normal May to July initiation period, we have undertaken to extend the season to first give priority to the prospective initiates that are already on the list from last year. This will ensure that when the schools are closed, we then take in the school-going initiates.This will ensure that there is compliance with the operational standards to ensure that there is no spread of Covid-19.

“We are also looking at utilising additional sites as the number of initiates is expected to be more than double the normal (number),” he said.

Zokufa said training of traditional surgeons and carers was under way.

The Embo Initiation Forum spokesperson Mandla Mlambo said in Langa they had resumed community engagements yesterday which will also be held in other communities.

Cape Argus

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