Initiation schools on freeze

THE number of initiation schools in Limpopo has dropped, with few initiates enrolled for circumcision - seemingly because of the current World Cup.

Only 60 schools have been registered compared to 350 last year. Observers believe that interest has been dampened by the ongoing soccer spectacular, with initiates roaming stadiums and fan parks in support of Bafana Bafana.

Chairperson of the initiation task team Khosi Vusani Netshimbupfe said the number of initiation schools is currently 60 and that no deaths had been reported so far.

Netshimbupfe and his team had initially said they would allow television sets into initiation schools but the decision was reversed after conservative "surgeons" scoffed at the idea.

Netshimbupfe said the only death that had been reported was that of a "surgeon" who had died of natural causes.

Traditional surgeon Mushoni Tshifhango admitted that the World Cup had affected on the number of initiates enrolling for circumcision this year.

"A few initiates have been enrolling, but when Bafana play, no one turns up," he said.

Traditional leaders and "surgeons" had rejected the introduction of television at the schools, saying it would undermine their culture.

Netshimbupfe said the initiation practice remained an important tool to instil discipline among youths as part of preparing for manhood.

"We teach respect, law and bravery," he said.