Contralesa slams 'totally unacceptable' deaths of 27 initiates in Eastern Cape

The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa has called for the formalisation and institutionalisation of traditional initiation schools. File photo.
The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa has called for the formalisation and institutionalisation of traditional initiation schools. File photo.
Image: Leon Sadiki

The Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa) has expressed shock at the death of 27 initiates in the Eastern Cape.

“This is a monumental disaster for the institution of traditional leadership and the country at large,” said Contralesa spokesperson Zolani Mkiva.

“We wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased initiates. The continuing and unending fatalities in traditional initiation schools are unbecoming, unwarranted and totally unacceptable.

“Not a single young man should lose his life for undergoing the rites of passage from boyhood to manhood. All the criminal elements involved in the running of bogus initiation schools should be charged and convicted for human trafficking and murder.”

Bogus traditional surgeons and nurses are the main culprits creating havoc and deaths of boys, he said.

“We call upon law-enforcement agencies to act swiftly, without fear or favour, and arrest all those involved in this horrendous killing of our innocent children.

“We make a clarion call for the formalisation and institutionalisation of traditional initiation schools in the country. This approach will help to better manage the initiation season and prevent further deaths,” he said.

Mkiva said the government should give traditional initiation schools the same recognition and attention it gives to formal education and health facilities. In this way it would have clear oversight and management of the schools.

 “We put this formal policy proposal to government as a matter of urgency. This is a very important ritual for the nation. This is a national ritual that produces young regiments, patriots and future leaders for our nation.

“We need to elevate this ritual to its rightful level. Every time an initiation season is about to commence, the leadership of the country should declare the start of the initiation rites. In this way we would have made this custom central to our own African renaissance.   

“We feel ashamed by the loss of 27 initiates and will do everything in our power to turn this around with policy proposals.”

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