'Fund circumcision schools'

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

The Limpopo Koma Association wants all circumcision schools to be "no fee schools".

The association, which governs all the circumcision schools in the province, said this during a meeting with the Limpopo House of Traditional Leaders in Polokwane yesterday.

The association also wants the Health Department to subsidise the circumcision schools.

The association's attorney, Post Moloto, told the house that boys who attended circumcision schools were from poor families and their parents often found it difficult to raise the necessary fees.

Moloto said most of the parents had to dig deep into their pockets so that their sons could undergo this male rite of passage.

He said some parents even dissuaded their children from attending circumcision schools because they couldn't afford the high fees required by school principals.

"It is in this context that we appeal to the Department of Health and Social Development and of Sport, Arts and Culture to subsidise these schools if we want our cultural schools to be sustainable.

"Our culture is dying bit by bit," Moloto said.

"We are asking for the circumcision schools to be eligible for subsidies so that our boys can be taught about their culture and how they should preserve it."

"However, we need money to make sure that our children do not learn about foreign cultures.

"They must learn about the deep secrets of where their parents come from through these schools."

Mathole Motshekga, chairman of the Kara Heritage and legal adviser to the Modjadji Royal Council and family, said the request by the association was genuine.

He said some Koma school principals have changed the schools into money-making machines by charging exorbitant fees.

Motshekga said it would be fruitful for the government to give the association a hearing.

Health and social development spokesman Phuti Seloba said his department's doors were always open for discussion.

The Koma schools open their doors on the last day of the second term and close during the last week before public schools reopen.

Five young initiates recently died as a result of botched circumcisions at unregistered schools.

Seven illegal schools have been closed down.