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Contralesa: Continued suspension of initiations will have grave repercussions

Stringent restriction implemented to halt the spread of the coronavirus have been eased to allow more social and economic activity to resume.

FILE: Young boys attending a traditional initiation school. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) on Sunday said that if initiation schools around the country remained closed during alert level one of the lockdown, it may have grave repercussions on the traditional practice.

Stringent restrictions implemented to halt the spread of the coronavirus have been eased to allow more social and economic activity to resume.

However, the cultural transition into manhood still remains prohibited.

Contralesa, which suspended all initiation schools in the winter season due to the COVID-19 outbreak, said that if government continued to delay it may not be able to monitor illegal practices.

South Africa’s initiation season falls during the June and December period.

But even with restrictions eased under level one of the lockdown, the cultural circumcision ceremonies remains postponed indefinitely.

Contralesa’s president Kgosi Mathupha Mokoena said that he feared if government continued to remain tight-lipped on the matter, illegal initiations would worsen.

“If government doesn’t say anything about it, there is a possibility that we are going to have more illegal schools in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng. And the danger is that if people have illegal initiation schools, which may not be monitored because many may not know their whereabouts, it means that no doctor will visit those initiates. There will be no proper monitoring of whether they are following requirements in that school.”

Mokoena is adamant that traditional initiations can go ahead under COVID-19 safety guidelines before communities take matters into their own hands.

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