Drive starts to curb initiation deaths

A new initiation awareness campaign was launched yesterday by cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) MEC Fikile Xasa in Mdantsane.

The launch was in preparation for the upcoming winter initiation season in an effort to curb initiate deaths and was attended by various churches leaders and members at the NU10 community hall.

VERY HOPEFUL:MEC Fikile Xasa speaks as the community pray for the initiation season Picture: MICHAEL PINYANA

As part of the launch, church leaders conducted a prayer session for the winter season initiation programme for the metro and the province at large.

BCM council speaker Alfred Mtsi said in the metro one death occurred in the last initiation season out of a total of 2500 initiates who underwent the ritual.

However, Xasa said BCM authorities and community members should not relax as initiate deaths happened anywhere if people “do not care”.

“In the past, the circumcision deaths were associated with AmaMpondo and we were shocked when we saw initiates dying in the Chris Hani District Municipality,” he said.

“Last year a law was passed to protect children and action will be taken if children under the age of 18 years undergo the custom. It is now illegal to do that and there is a punishment for it.”

He said because of “medical reasons”, government encouraged and recommended that initiates undergo circumcision during the winter and not during the summer season. “This has health reasons, but it is not law. We found that in the Chris Hani District Municipality they don’t die in winter as they do in December and that tells us there is something to it and we need to stop it,” Xasa added.

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