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Rising death toll from initiations

By LULAMILE FENI | Jul 06, 2012 | COMMENTS [ 24 ]

THE circumcision death toll in the Eastern Cape has climbed to an alarming 34 as the third week of the Winter initiation season draws to a close.

Already the 2012 winter season has surpassed the death toll during the same period last year when 26 initiates had died. Since Tuesday, the number has increased by 14 from 20 to 34.

The death toll keeps rising despite various strategies and campaigns by the government, Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders (ECHTL), local traditional leaders and traditional circumcision practitioners. The departments of health and traditional affairs have been at the forefront of campaigns.

ECHTL chairman Nkosi Ngangomhlaba Matanzima said the increase was worrying.

“While Pondoland remains problematic and still has the highest number of deaths and injuries, the fatilities have spread to other places as like Matatiele, Willowvale, Ugie and Butterworth,” said Matanzima.

“This is very worrying that the entire province will be engulfed with this disaster. Hence, we wants more focus to be made on the prevention of the circumcision deaths.”

Matanzima said that concerned that 34 young lives were lost in barely three weeks.

“We fear that more lives may be lost as the season continue, but pray for divine prevention.”

Matanzima said a number of factors contributed to the “disaster” this winter season. These included financial constraints.

He said they were operating with a budget of about R700,000 for both the summer and winter initiation seasons.

Previously, Matanzima said, they had a budget of close to R4-million.

“This on its own created a problem and we therefore could not have the plans and campaigns we normally have,” said Matanzima.

He also said some traditional leaders and parents have not played their part in curbing deaths.

“How can a traditional leader boast of being a custodian of custom and culture while doing nothing to protect the rite which is one of the corner stones of our customs?” said Matanzima.

The health department has allocated 30 vehicles to traditional leaders to visit initiation schools.

The South African Communist Party (SACP) in the province joined the chorus of organisations concerned by the rising deaths of initiates in Eastern Cape initiation schools .

“This challenge warrants all people of our province to unite and fight against malpractice of this old custom and those who are now turning our custom into a narrow business for their selfish interests. We cannot allow anyone to commodify our custom and objectify vulnerable young people in the process,” said SACP provincial spokesman Siyabonga Mdodi earlier this week.

COMMENTS [ 24 ]

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Mapona Vol.3 @ Sowetan, i knew it friday doesnt just pass without mapona feature / modango

O ba bona feela ba tshaba metsi, CROCODILES ke tseo. kwaaaaaaakwaaaaaaakwaaaaak...

Jul 06, 2012 11:55 | 0 replies

KOMA KE ENG?
KOMA KE MMUTLA LE BOYA BJA HLOLO.

KGOMO E A TSHA

E GAPA KE MANG?
E GAPA KE NNA MPHELE WA NGWATO..
KE ILE KE SEPELA,KA HLAKANA LE PHALA LE PHALANA
KA THUNYA PHALA GOA SHALA PHALANA
KA TSEA NAKA LA PHALA
KA HLAKANA LE MAKGAREBE A MABEDI
KA RE HE LENA MAKGAREBE TENANG...
LE RENG LE SA NTUMEDISE
KE TLA RETA KE KGAETSEDI YA KA E LE GO HUDADI

KE TSHABA BADITI...

Jul 06, 2012 2:57 | 0 replies

@bizoro

Where are your toughest CLANS? MABHAQWA?
I heard that hey were the toughest?What have they done to them with a spear to their faces ???
Can you please tell me the battles you have won with ZULUS ?
What happenned to you and the ZULUs.
why are your chiefs not as famous as the other zulu kings like SHAKA,MZILIKAZI,NDWANDWE,SOSHANGAAN,and others like DINGAAN ?

Were you defeated by the ZULUs????

Jul 06, 2012 3:3 | 0 replies

yes no mother should bury her child but the problem is not isiko(check the stats for every 50intiates only 1 dies(worst case) in the former ciskie) the problem ngamampondo who dont know what they r doing coz their fore fathers ngama kwenkwe....dont compare us to limpompo,amahlubi,sotho's and other "xhosas"(from Cape town)

Jul 06, 2012 3:23 | 0 replies

I find it very strange that 'boys' - amakwekwe are inputing on a manly topic...phandle makwedini (inja phandle)...if this is a Xhosa problem (yesterday in this very Sowetan there was a report of many boys that died in Limpompo - but izinja forget easily)...we will sort it out...we dont need izinja (boys) to direct us anyhow...stick to your customs...we will stick to ours...enkosi...

Jul 06, 2012 3:31 | 0 replies

ow yha EC proper initiation schools have no death reates, if u r 14 and c yoself fit enough to go to the mountain and you to these fake one, of course u're gonna fie. its gt nothing to do with the tradition of circumsicion. its abt these young kids who dont wanna wait for the right time. if u go to an unregistered school, who do u blame, the student who did not enough investigation about the school or the person who started the school or the department of education

Jul 06, 2012 3:35 | 0 replies

It is very painful to see and hear what our way of life has been marginalized to and to have people of no significance comment on such. To begin with as much as I'd think woman r mothers and should be concerned about their sons well being, this discussion is not one to have with em. I hear ppl going on on about Hlubis..ndiliHlubi laseSterke ke mna, n all these reports they're very discomforting because were I am from we do not have these cases of death but we end up being guilty by association i.e. jus cos I'm Xhosa..This culture if its respected enough as it should and we continue having discussions on how to improve it, all will be well...wt ppl are indeed missing out on here is the fact that is not about being circumcised, its about a hole lot more that's intended to make u appreciate self and the respect you'd even have for a younger person than yourself only cos they've managed to walk the road b4 u did..so to everyone..please keep your opinions to yourself in this regard..surely someone more influential is looking at having this resolved and we wont have to discuss such on these platforms!!!

Jul 06, 2012 4:19 | 0 replies

Yes and for all of you who say "this is our culture, this is tradition." Yes well sometimes in the modern world you just let old traditions be that. Old traditions. Let it go, we can't keep performing all our old traditions. We evolve away from them.

Jul 07, 2012 2:7 | 0 replies

@bizoro
YOU SEEM NOT TO KNOW WHAT YOU TALKING ABOUT . YES YOU PROUD . THE FACT IS WE SINGING BECAUSE WE HAVING FUN AND WE GO TO MONTAIN AT YOUNG AGE SO WE ENJOY THE MAINLY HOOD WITH NO UMBRELLA FROM THE START . bizoro KEEP TALKING FACT IF YOU CANT BEAT THEM JOIN THEM ........................

Jul 07, 2012 12:25 | 0 replies

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Jul 08, 2012 6:12 | 0 replies

next year take all those ppl for training to venda so that the will be fully qualified to run the initiation school. in venda these no such thing called death at the initiation school

Jul 09, 2012 8:6 | 0 replies