WC govt gives nod for initiation season to commence July 1
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Cape Town - THE provincial cabinet has given the green light for the traditional winter initiation season to resume on June 1, subject to the status of the Covid-19 lockdown and approval by the National Department of Traditional Affairs.
Cultural Affairs and sport MEC Anroux Marais said the decision was in line with the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on February 28.
Marais said in the interests of the safety of all, initiation would immediately be suspended should the expected third wave occur over the period for which the practice has been approved to resume.
“The proposed start date of June 1, subject to the status of the pandemic, allows enough time for stakeholder training, mandatory health inspection as well as cultural preparation of prospective initiates, and preparation of initiation sites by Initiation Forums. We have navigated and exited a second wave of Covid-19 with a clear and consistent decline in cases, hospitalisations and deaths. We move into a heightened surveillance, vigilance and urge everyone to adhere to protective behaviours to reduce new cases while on level 1, especially over the coming holiday period in order to avert an early third wave which could have an impact on the commencement of initiation,” said Marais.
Embo Initiation Forum spokesperson Mandla Mlambo said the organisation was ready to begin the initiation.
“Considering the backlog we have since last year the (ban on) initiation has to be lifted. There is no way the boys would want to go to hospital.
“As Embo, we have engaged with the MEC and we proposed May 1 in as much as before we proposed April 1. We need to start as early as possible to decrease the backlog. If it happens that the third wave of Covid-19 pandemic comes, we will have to abandon the initiation for that period because Covid kills,” said Mlambo.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport applauded Traditional Leaders and the Initiation Forums for their input and willingness to adjust some of the initiation rite-of-passage procedures in order to mitigate risk where possible.
The Chairperson of the Initiation Reference Committee, Lungelo Nokwaza, who is also a Traditional Leader, reconfirmed the importance of following COVID-19 safety protocols when initiation schools reopen. This will assist in achieving the safe rite of passage and ensure zero deaths of initiates. He also emphasised that all stakeholders must do whatever it takes to prevent loss of life during this period.