A number of families in the Eastern Cape have celebrated the safe homecoming of their sons who underwent the initiation custom.

However, not every family celebrated as 19 initiates didn’t make the journey back home. They lost their lives allegedly due to dehydration and negligence by traditional surgeons.

The 2019’s death toll has dropped from 2018’s summer season death toll of 23.

A parent from Mdantsane, Nomandela Fingo, says she’s joyful of her sons’ safe return.

“I’m glad that my children are back because some did not come back alive and my children are back. The traditional surgeons treated them with care. They did not have any sicknesses there.”

Calls for government to intervene for the protection of the custom have been made.

“The government needs to make sure that kids go at the right time. At least, go to the bush more to check up on them, especially on the season when it starts up until the end,” says one complainant.

“We should prevent children going to the mountain underage because they cannot withstand what happens there,” says the other.