Initiates take part in the rite of passage commonly referred to as ulwaluko or “going to the mountain” in Qunu, Eastern Cape. File picture: Siegfried Modola/Reuters
As the Men’s Sector, we continue to call on the government, traditional leaders and communities to take a firm, uncompromising stand that puts an end to these shameful murders of innocent initiates in the name of cultural practice.

Our primary interest is in the prevention of the senseless loss of the lives of the initiates. The Men’s Sector, under the banner “Takuwani Riime Men’s Movement” therefore:

* Supports the Commission for the Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistics (CRL) on immediate suspension of the initiation season in all the affected regions in South Africa until all measures in place are satisfactory that no more lives will be lost;

* Calls for a comprehensive investigation by SAPS and NPA with a recommendation for prosecution into the causes of deaths of the initiates by the relevant institution;

* Urge for the strengthening of a multi-stakeholder plan of action for the elimination of initiates deaths and curbing of any adverse events; and

* Challenges the affected communities to mobilise themselves and demand resources to support them to be at the centre of processes that will prevent initiates’ deaths.

The reported deaths of initiates at initiation sites in the current initiation season serves as the final straw to the continuous neglectful approach.

The proud heritage of an old age African practice is being systematically undermined by the continuing loss of African males lives.

To continue observing, and waiting for one more preventable death of healthy African males in the name of culture is simple primitive and borders on barbaric.

Although issues surrounding culture and tradition remain sensitive, they cannot be at the expense of the avoidable deaths of innocent Africans. Otherwise it displays the lack of value and right of life and is in contravention of the SA’s constitution which respects everyone’s right to life.

* Ntando Yola is the national chairperson of the Men’s Sector of the SA National Aids Council.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.