Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
The Buffalo City Traditional Circumcision Association (BCTCA) yesterday said the suspended SABC1 mini-series, Umthunzi Wentaba, had done irreparable damage to the image of initiation rituals.
The SABC suspended the drama last week after only two episodes following complaints that it was too graphic.
Isaac Olayi, head of the BCTCA and a traditional surgeon, yesterday said it was not going to be easy to restore the dignity of the ritual after the damage caused by Umthunzi Wentaba .
Olayi said the drama would boost numbers of bogus traditional surgeons.
"Many people have already learnt to perform the ritual from the drama," he said.
The Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders , the Congress of Traditional Leaders' Association (Contralesa) and the National Heritage Council lodged complaints with the SABC over the drama last week.
Following the complaints, the public broadcaster held a meeting with traditional leaders in East London this week. SABC chief executive Dali Mpofu apologised to the leaders and admitted that some episodes had "overstepped the mark".
"When I viewed those episodes, I realised some scenes had overstepped the mark," said Mpofu.
Olayi said the drama would "anger the ancestors because the ritual had been 'westernised'". He urged the show's producers to consult with traditional leaders when they dealt with traditional circumcision dramas.
Umthunzi is a coming- of-age drama about a young man, Ndoda, who has to decide whether or not to "go to the mountain" for the circumcision ritual.
The fears and controversies surrounding the ritual are thrown into harsh relief when eight initiates in the Transkei die.
This splits Ndoda's household into camps of those who support the old ways and those who reject them.