Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

7 July 2014

South Africa: Eight Numbers You Need to Know This Initiation Season

analysis

Once again, 'tis the season where boys become men. Thousands of youngsters across the country are currently in initiation schools where, hopefully, they will learn how to be responsible adults. While government has stepped up their approach this year, already 26 people have died. GREG NICOLSON looks at the numbers.

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With previous initiation seasons causing many deaths and hospitalisations, the National House of Traditional Leaders, the Department of Health, the SAPS, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Commission) and the Congress of Traditional Leaders says this year it has a zero-tolerance stance on initiation fatalities.

To combat the problem, they have introduced a number of proposals. To make monitoring easier, they recommend villages create a centralised initiation area. All circumcisions need to be performed under the supervision of medically qualified professionals. There must be qualified care-givers and inspections are required to check a school's compliance with regulations. They also recommend an awareness campaign involving communities and parents.

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Deputy Minister for Traditional Affairs Obed Bapela announced on Friday that 26 initiates have died this winter season. Twenty-one are from Eastern Cape, four from Mpumalanga and one from the...

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