Vaccinations top of mind as summer initiation season set to begin
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CAPE TOWN - As Initiation forums prepare for the summer initiation season, the Provincial Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport says vaccination is not mandatory and initiates will not be turned away if they have not had the jab.
This as forums including the Embo Initiation Forum in Langa have started the registration process for summer initiations. The forums are also screening the initiates for Covid-19 symptoms.
Department spokesperson Tania Colyn said they would ensure that initiation forums and initiation school principals comply to Covid-19 Regulations and the Customary Initiation Act, Act 2 of 2021.
“We are expecting a higher number of initiates for the summer season due to there not having been any winter or summer initiation last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and regulations.
“We encourage all initiates who are eligible (18 years and older) to get vaccinated before going to initiation school. We also encourage caregivers to be vaccinated before the season starts. The department started with preparations for Summer initiation in September, is currently busy facilitating training for the cultural practitioners and is ready to provide all necessary equipment. Initiation forums and initiation school principals are required to apply to take part during initiation summer season starting from November 1 2021,” said Colyn.
Langa Embo Initiation Forum spokesperson Makhelwane Ngambu said while vaccination was not mandatory, they encouraged those who want to vaccinate, to do so for their safety and health.
“The registration for initiations are open and we register every Tuesday. During the registration we also check if a person has covid-19 symptoms. If it happens that the person has the symptoms we refer them to a clinic or hospital so that they can get help and quarantine for some time.
“We have more than 181 people who have registered and more are coming in numbers but we will have to take a certain number due to space,” said Ngambu.
Traditional surgeon and Somagwaza Institute chairperson, Sikelela Zokufa said: “As the preparations have begun it is our responsibility to encourage the initiates to vaccinate but not only them we also have urged the caregivers and traditional surgeons to vaccinate. Once they all vaccinate, that means our job will be easy.
“We already have Personal Protective Equipment PPE which will be mainly used at the initiation school. We expect about 2000 boys this year from Xhosa and Sotho tribes,” said Zokufa.
Provincial Department of Health spokesperson, Mark van der Heever encouraged all eligible age cohorts to make use of the free vaccinations currently available.