Initiation schools suspended

Date: Dec 20, 2019

Traditional leaders outraged by decision to suspend initiations

Initiation schools where young boys have died this season have been suspended for a year — although no-one told Eastern Cape traditional leaders.

The death of 23 initiates since the start of the summer season has prompted the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) to suspend these schools and their practice.

The CRL is a constitutional body that is responsible for ensuring freedom of culture, religion and language in SA  are protected.

Schools in four Eastern Cape districts —  OR Tambo (Ingquza Hill and Mhlontlo), Joe Gqabi (Elundini),  Chris  Hani (Inxuba Yethemba, Sakhisizwe, Engcobo and  Enoch Mgijima) and Sarah Baartman (Camdeboo) — are affected.

At a media briefing in Johannesburg on Thursday, commission chairperson professor Luka Mosama said the commission had “observed with dismay” the deaths of the young people.

The CRL said initiates at these schools would be “rescued and removed” immediately. It also called on fathers to accompany boys to initiation schools.

On Thursday afternoon there was some confusion over whether all initiation schools in these districts would be affected, but Mosama said he had been "misunderstood".

He told the  Dispatch: ''The  ban will not apply to  all schools in a  region, but only to those schools where  initiates died. We were referring to specific initiation schools where there have been deaths, not the entire  region.  

"In the OR Tambo region there are 10 initiation schools. There have been deaths in two schools. The ban applies to these two schools only. It will not apply to those where there have been no deaths."

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