Initiates absent from schools

THE level of absenteeism in Limpopo schools in the first week of the third quarter of the school calendar is alarming, with more than 3000 pupils still roaming the streets.

A school governing bodies official said yesterday that the majority of those who did not report to school were initiates who graduated from circumcision (Koma) schools.

School governing bodies provincial chairperson Hitler Morwatshehla said they were concerned about the poor turnout of pupils in several schools and the majority of those absent were newly graduated initiates.

"The schools had an enrolment of about 5500 initiates and only an estimated 2000 of them reported to school on Tuesday," Morwatshehla said.

The mother of Nthangwe Malapane in Matipane village in the Modjadjiskloof area, whose son was one of the graduates, said he had told her that it was standard procedure for all graduates to stay at home for a week after the graduation.

"He said this would give them time to heal their wounds properly since most of them were still hurting after the circumcisions," she said.

Sasekane Ndlovu of Mandlangazi village in the N'wamitwa area, whose son was supposed to have gone to Makhanya Secondary School on Tuesday, said her son had changed since his return from initiation. Ndlovu said her son spent two nights out in a tavern with notorious guys in the village who smoked dagga.

But other children have returned to school. Vincent Raolane of Bokhuta village outside Tzaneen reported to Mapula Primary School on the first day.

Wisani Netshimbufhe, chairperson of the Limpopo Task Team on Koma Schools, said they were not aware some children had not reported for school.