Initiation also about education – Matanzima

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BOYS TO MEN: The EC House of Traditional Leaders opened the initiation season, from left, ECHTL CEO Mzi Nkantsu and provincial chairman chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima Picture: ZOLILE MENZELWA
BOYS TO MEN: The EC House of Traditional Leaders opened the initiation season, from left, ECHTL CEO Mzi Nkantsu and provincial chairman chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima Picture: ZOLILE MENZELWA

INITIATION forums from across the province, churches and traditional leaders have been tasked to write down what they would like initiates to be taught during their time of isolation so the EC House of Traditional Leaders (ECHTL) can formulate a curriculum.

This was said by ECHTL provincial chairman chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima during the official opening of the initiation season at the Sandringham Sports Club last Thursday.

He said education was important as it would affect the kind of men society received after initiation.

He said locals could submit their suggestions to the outgoing Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) speaker George Xoseni’s office. Government departments would submit their inputs to the ECHTL.

Matanzima said the house had met with the South African Council of Churches.

“We want to rebuild Africa and we call on everyone to work with us. If we work together we will be able to restore respect and dignity for our tradition and people. Initiation is not just about the circumcision, but about teaching.”

The chief urged families to have their children medically checked as some boys died of illnesses that could have been prevented had the boys seen doctors prior to the circumcision rite.

He said there was treatment for diseases like HIV/Aids, TB and diabetes and that treatment should be taken to the initiation schools.

“Traditional nurses must accept that those who need medication must have it.”

A total of 43 initiates died of dehydration in the province in the last season.

“There is nothing wrong with initiates drinking water.”

Matanzima said weather conditions had changed drastically in December and negatively affected the practice.

He said families must make careful choices when deciding on traditional nurses. Chiefs and community leaders should have committees who visited the schools daily.

If ward councillors were females, they had to make a male member of the ward committee responsible.

Matanzima urged young men from initiation schools to respect teachers at schools, especially females, who were made targets.

“At school they must wear their school uniform and remain pupils. No one must go to the initiation school before finishing exams.”

CHDM acting executive mayor Sithembele Plata said the tradition was old and would never be abandoned but the deaths were intolerable. Council agreed that it should fight and defeat the deaths of initiates adding the district authority would make vehicles available to help during the season.

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