Traditional leaders have urged parents to take their children to experienced initiation schools to curb initiate deaths. Three deaths were recorded in Mpumalanga this year.

Over 12 000 young people enlisted for this year’s initiation season in the province.

The last group were welcomed back to Bushbuckridge on Saturday.

It was song and dance to mark the safe return home of 523 boys and girls who spent two months in the mountain.

“I am very happy that I am back home, I’m going to see my parents and go back to school.”

Their parents are overjoyed that their children are safe.

“They look very healthy, I am pleased with that. I hope they have learnt respect and our culture and they will stay away from drugs and focus on their education,” says one one of the parents, Olga Nyambi.

Over 12 000 initiates graduated in Mpumalanga this winter season. Traditional leaders attribute this to the use of experienced initiation schools and the help being offered by the Health Department.

“We are happy because all kids are back because of the cooperation we had with the Department of Health, what we want to encourage is all traditional leaders and Ingoma owners that they don’t give licenses or permits to who don’t have experience,” says Controlesa president, Chief Lameck Mokoena .

Last year 11 initiates died in Mpumalanga.