The Eastern Cape government has sent its proposal to national government about how it will conduct the summer initiation season. Last month, Deputy Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) Obed Bapela confirmed that the traditional rite of passage will continue this December under strict conditions.
The Eastern Cape put together its strategy after a multi-disciplinary meeting comprising of the provincial CoGTA department, SAPS, NPA and the health department. This year, 20 illegal initiation schools have been shut down in the Buffalo City Metro alone.
One initiate, who proceeded with the process illegally, has died in the OR Tambo District.
The winter initiation season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The infection rate then dropped leading to the go-ahead for the summer initiation season. But a second wave of infections is moving through the province triggering caution.
CoGTA MEC Xolile Nqatha says they’re hoping for an incident-free initiation season.
“We are working with local initiation committees. In each area, we have local initiation committees to monitor the situation in each area. Already, the Department of Health has done training of people that are being allocated through districts. We have established what you call rapid response teams per district which is a multi-disciplinary team.”
One matric learner, from King William’s Town, Azukise Flarha says he is looking forward to undergo this passage despite the threat of COVID-19.
His father, Bongani Lukhashe is in full support of this.
“Seeing that he is going to university next year, I see no reason for him not to go to circumcision school because if I send him being a boy there he is going to experience some trouble. There are lots of questions and challenges that he is going to face there being a boy. We, Xhosa people, believe in being a man.”
40 000 boys are expected to undergo the right of passage this coming summer season in the Eastern Cape.