Three initiates have been found dead with gunshot wounds at an initiation school at Tsomo in the Eastern Cape. An alarm was raised by boys bringing food to them and alerted the elders of Jojweni village on Saturday.

This brings the number of initiates who died this season to 10.

Traditional Affairs Department spokesperson Mamnkeli Ngam says the motive for the killing is unknown at this stage.

“Two of them are 20-years-old and one is 19-years. At the moment the police are still investigating the reasons for this gruesome murder of initiates, and the provincial commissioner has instituted a task team to report to her within 72-hours with a view of trying to unearth the reasons for this gruesome murder.”

Ngam says, “The MEC of the Department Xolile Nqata has sent messages of condolences to the bereaved families and has encouraged communities to be vigilant and ensure the safety of initiate all the time.”

The summer initiation season officially commenced in the Eastern Cape late in December last year. The resumption of the traditional rite of passage into manhood was in doubt as COVID-19 infections rose sharply in the province again in November. The winter season was suspended earlier this year due to the pandemic.

The video below is about the start of the initiation season: