Sipho Mabena
Premium Journalist
3 minute read
29 Dec 2021
5:24 pm

Dying to become men: Initiation deaths continue despite government intervention

Sipho Mabena

A traditions expert says government interventions to curb initiation deaths are only good on paper.

Xhosa boys who have undergone an initiation ceremony sit near Qunu, Eastern Cape, on 30 June 2013. Picture: CARL DE SOUZA / AFP

The perennial deaths of dozens of young boys in the name of the transition to manhood has put the future of the practice in the balance and cast doubt on the efficacy of various interventions to curb the carnage. The death toll for the current initiation season, which began on November 12 in the Eastern Cape, has so far reached 36. Dozens more have been hospitalised as calls grow louder for the establishment of special courts to tackle illegal initiation schools. This as preparations begin for the winter initiation season - mostly held after three years - of AmaNdebele and...