Sipho Mabena

By Sipho Mabena

Premium Journalist


Almost 300 initiates suffer horror injuries while traditional ‘surgeons’ pocket R3.2 million

More than 200 boys were admitted to hospital with infected wounds and serious injuries in a Limpopo initiation school horror.


The Commission for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) has launched an urgent investigation into injuries of nearly 300 boys at an initiation school in Phalaborwa, Limpopo. According to information from the commission, two groups of more than 2000 initiates were circumcised at the initiation school two months ago. The youngest initiate is 7 years old, and with each boy having been charged R1 600 for circumcision, it means the so-called surgeons pocketed at least R3 200 000. But when the initiates returned this week, a total of 292 of them appeared to…

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The Commission for the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) has launched an urgent investigation into injuries of nearly 300 boys at an initiation school in Phalaborwa, Limpopo.

According to information from the commission, two groups of more than 2000 initiates were circumcised at the initiation school two months ago.

The youngest initiate is 7 years old, and with each boy having been charged R1 600 for circumcision, it means the so-called surgeons pocketed at least R3 200 000.

But when the initiates returned this week, a total of 292 of them appeared to have been ‘badly circumcised’ and sought medical attention at various public medical facilities.

Badly circumcised

Professor David Mosoma, CRL Chairperson, said some of the initiates were treated and discharged but some were admitted as they “were badly circumcised and some of them could not urinate”.

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He said the CRL intervened after receiving pictures of about 200 boys with wounds on their private parts waiting to be attended to at Maphutha L Malatji Hospital in Phalaborwa, Limpopo.

Mosoma said on Wednesday, they met with parents, local authorities, and representative of the local house of traditional leadership and cooperative governance and traditional affairs, to pave a way toward an inquisitorial process.

“It is not clear how many were affected as only 292 have come forward. Investigations will establish fact, verify the stories, and numbers. So, the investigation will make clear the numbers and how many were hurt,” he said.

Mosoma said they should have a preliminary report for the National Initiation Oversight Committee by Monday.

Provincial Health Department intervention

“They will then issue a [way forward] in terms of investigation. I spoke to MEC [Dr Phophi Ramathuba] who told me that upon hearing of the matter, she dispatched a group of doctors to assist. The intervention was very timely, or the situation would have been worse,” he said.

Ramathuba’s spokesperson Neil Shikwambana refused to share information about the department’s interventions on the matter involving the health of the affected youngsters.

ALSO READ: Illegal-initiation-schools-in-limpopo-face-shutdown

Mosoma said what was most troubling was that no one was brought to account for the destruction of these boys’ lives in the name of culture and tradition.

He said they were unable to ascertain the status of the initiation school at this stage, but stressed that children must be protected at all costs and their lives should not be lost in the name of culture and traditions.

“Our young people should not be exposed to that, because when that happens, it is a violation to their rights so accountability must kick in,” he said.

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