Another initiate has died in the Eastern Cape, bringing to 20 the number of dead initiates in the province this summer circumcision season.
The 19 year old initiate is from in Upper Mpenduza village in Butterworth. It’s alleged that the deceased complained of chest pains before his death. It’s also alleged the initiate had undergone an illegal circumcision.
Eastern Cape Traditional Affairs spokesperson, Mamkeli Ngam says they are waiting for post-mortem results to establish the exact cause of death.
At least 20 initiates have lost their lives in the Eastern Cape this summer, with national total of 24.
The shocking numbers have forced the Eastern Cape’s House of Traditional leaders to call on the National Prosecuting Authority to be tough on those responsible.
Male initiation is a right way passage for boys into manhood but it’s often marred by the deaths of initiates in the Eastern Cape.
Though the numbers have declined compared to previous years, boys continue to lose their lives in the bushes.
According to government, the main problem is the parents who send their children to illegal traditional surgeons.
EC Traditional Affairs MEC Fikile Xasa says:”Parents are not taking serious their responsibility, why I am saying so is because we have done everything as government. We have passed legislation, we have implemented the law in 2016 but there is no change.”
Ten suspects have been arrested for operating illegal initiation schools.
But in most cases arrests are not made for the actual deaths of the initiates.
EC House of Traditional Leaders Mwelo Nonkonyane says:”All the cases are actually inquests and we have said a person responsible must be charged with murder so we are still talking to the NPA about this.”
Neglect is also a problem. An initiate was burnt to death when he was left alone.
Government believes some deaths could have been averted.
Fikile Xasa says:”Dehydration and septicaemia is something that we have been talking about saying that boys must be given water. I think there is some resistance to this call because of previous experiences and old traditions.”
As the summer initiation season draws to a close, parents, traditional leaders and other stakeholders have been urged to ensure that no more lives will be lost.
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