My hell at initiation school
'We were treated like animals'
AN INITIATE who escaped death when four others were killed at an illegal initiation school has revealed the "horrendous" conditions they lived under, including the daily assaults they suffered.
Thapelo* told Sowetan how they were severely assaulted daily and denied food by people who were meant to turn them into "real men".
Thapelo, 19, is hiding at a relative's house after he was released from hospital. He fears he might be killed because he had not finished his "initiation programme".
Sowetan met an inmate with bandaged feet, who said he had sustained the injuries ion a beating at the bush school.
Four suspects have appeared in court twice in connection with the death of four initiates who were severely assaulted.
"We were treated like animals, and denied food," Thapelo said.
"We were assaulted for nothing.
"Those people are cruel and heartless.
"When they assaulted a person next to you, you could feel the pain in your heart.
"I will not forget that I saw an initiate being kicked and assaulted. He collapsed and his attackers also used sticks all over his body. That night he could not stand on his own. He was rolling all over and I was scared he was going to die.
"The following day another initiate told me the boy was dead. He said he had tried waking him up but he did not move.
"I then became worried about my safety," said Thapelo.
*Not his real name
- This article was first published in the printed newspaper on 12 July 2012