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By Itumeleng Mafisa

Digital Journalist


Initiation season kicks off: Contralesa concerned about floods and freezing temperatures

Sick initiates will be provided medical attention.


Despite the bitter cold winter season, the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) said it would ensure that adequate measures are in place to protect young initiates from the unforgiving weather.

In a few days, dozens of young men will begin their initiation ceremonies into manhood. This is a right of passage in many African cultures.

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Weather challenges in winter initiation

But Contralesa General Secretary (GS) Zolani Mkiva said he was worried about the freezing temperatures in different parts of the country.

“The winters are now excruciatingly cold. And two the location of the schools should be placed in areas of the schools should be safe where they will not be hit by the floods,” he said.

Mkiva said there has been a directive for the different initiation schools to ensure that the boys are in good health. This includes ensuring that there are sufficient blankets and heating.

“They must have new blankets. We do not compromise on that as they make fire, we must make sure that there is extra care in the traditional heating system. We do not want any accidents,” he said.

ALSO READ: Three dead as four brothers shot at Eastern Cape initiation school

Over the years Contralesa has seen hundreds of boys die in the initiation process. But Mkiva said they were hoping for no deaths in this winder initiation phase.

“Every year what we prepare for is zero deaths we are always working towards no fatalities even one death is a lot for us that is why we take a lot of time to plan,” he said.

According to Mkiva, the initiates have to go through certain processes to be admitted to the initiation schools. This includes a media checkup and consent from parents.

Initiates who have certain medical conditions are allowed to carry their medicine.

According to Mkiva, there is a first aid kit available at all approved initiation schools.

Contralesa issued a stern warning to bogus initiation school operators.

“We are warning them not to do it and we hope that those that are caught are punished,” he said.

All provinces will be having initiation season, except for the North West, even though the practice was not common in KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng.

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