The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa announced the suspension of the winter initiation season when the coronavirus pandemic hit South Africa’s shores.
Every year, provinces such as the Eastern Cape have two initiation seasons, one in winter between June and July and the other during the December holidays. But this year, the coronavirus pandemic has brought unprecedented changes.
One of the parents, Ntobeko Gcolotela says, “We would be so happy if the government can agree with us so that we can give our children their rights because there is what we call the peer pressure, more especially at schools. Sometimes you will get that the boys sometimes commit suicide because of the peer pressure from other boys, I mean those who have been undergoing this circumcision. We wish that the government can agree with us so that these boys can do what they think is right.”
Contralesa provincial chairperson, Chief Mkhanyiseli Dudumayo, says traditional leaders want consultations with the government.
“We are calling on government to have some engagements with communities regarding this alert level because we are not given a guarantee that by December which alert level we will be on, which is normally a season that is known by the communities and people on the ground, are ready to take their children into initiation schools. Therefore, we will also appeal to the state to say let’s have an engagement, coming up with any measuring tools that will assist in dealing with the issue of health protocols and also social distancing measures.”
In the audio below, Contralesa disappointed that under lockdown level two initiation practises are still prohibited:
A traditional surgeon, Malizo Mbunga believes the boys might resort to using illegal traditional surgeons due to peer pressure.