All a Twitter over Phelo's initiation

05 January 2010 - 02:00
By Zenoyise Madikwa

WHILE the youngest member of the Bala Brothers, Phelo, was recovering at an initiation school his friends were twittering and facebooking his journey and counting down his return.

WHILE the youngest member of the Bala Brothers, Phelo, was recovering at an initiation school his friends were twittering and facebooking his journey and counting down his return.

Phelo has been performing with his more famous brothers, Zwai and Loyiso, for four years.

By the time of his initiation ceremony on December 22, after about a month in the mountains of KwaNobuhle outside Uitenhage, thousands of South Africans already informed on the nitty-gritty of the 19-year-old's initiation. This has angered some Xhosa traditionalists who feel Phelo's friends cheapened the sacred Xhosa ritual.

But his brother Zwai Bala and Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa have defended the friends, saying there was nothing wrong with what they did.

Zwai, who has also undergone the ritual, said yesterday there was nothing unbecoming about Phelo's friends networking.

"If it was secret people would not send invites and letters out to friends and family. The only difference is that he spoke about it on a social networking page, which is the modern way of communicating. Whoever has a problem with this does not know the ritual," Zwai said.

Holomisa agreed with him, adding that those who had a problem were making an issue out of nothing.

"It is like an invitation. An initiation ceremony is not a secret thing attended by a few. Anyone can come, even those who are not invited."

Some people believe that talking about the sacred ritual is taboo, especially before the initiate returns home, because it makes him vulnerable to witchcraft and other evils.

Phelo's initiation celebration at their birthplace in the KwaNobuhle township was colourful. A source said it was a properly done initiation ceremony and all the rituals were observed.