Mcebisi Bokolo, Ndlunkulu Cultural Community Foundation secretary
As Ndlunkulu Cultural Community Foundation, we are ready for the initiation season and we call for a safe, effective initiation season.
The start of the initiation season is sometimes characterised by the mushrooming of illegal initiation schools all over the country by unscrupulous people who aim to make money from this important traditional practice.
If the last initiation season is anything to go by, then challenges like illegal schools and deaths might again occur in this season. To this effect, Ndlunkulu will continue to work tirelessly with all stakeholders ahead of, during and post initiation season to ensure that we root out these challenges and thus saving lives of the initiates.
The Khayelitsha community, working with all other stakeholders (The police and Law Enforcement ) will conduct unscheduled visits to a number of illegal traditional surgeons as part of the interventions and monitoring. The random visits will be part of the process and efforts to crack down and pounce on illegal initiations schools during this winter season.
In addition, Ndlunkulu has called for police assistance to strengthen its monitoring and coordinating forum head so that they can remain vigilant and assist to identify and root out challenges inherent in the system.
Ndlunkulu emphasised the African proverb which says, “It takes a village to raise a child”. The Ndlunkulu leaders are of the view that without community and government involvement, we will not be able to bring an end to the challenges around initiation. We need to remember that, initiation is a societal issue and all problems emanating from it, are also societal problems. This confirms that indeed it takes communities to raise responsible young men who can contribute positively to the future of our beautiful Khayelitsha.
In an effort to bring an end this challenges, especially the death of initiates, Ndlunkulu has adopted a Zero Deaths Campaign, which will be a clarion call to all communities in the greater Khayelitsha township to come together to ensure a safe initiation season.
We therefore, urge parents/legal guardians to:
- Ensure that their children undergo medical checks ahead of the initiation process.
- Ensure psychological readiness of initiates
- Use legal registered initiation schools
- Ensure that the traditional surgeons and carers are registered
- Ensure initiates drink enough water to avoid dehydration
The forum/parents must medical trained personnel ready for any intervention required.
The forum and communities must report any illegal/unregistered initiation schools to the authorities for appropriate action.
Families are urged to ensure that initiates with medical conditions take their medication on site to avoid complications.
Parents, care givers, legal guardians and communities in general are urged to play their part and support our zero deaths approach during this initiation season.
We cannot allow others to take the lead and destroy the lives of our children as this responsibility that cannot be delegated to anyone but to Ndlunkulu.
Our chairman has indicated that with all processes put in place and the tips given to communities, it is definitely unacceptable that initiates should still die when we have put mechanisms in place to address issues and challenges of the season.
As traditional leaders, we request parents to work in partnership with government and all other stakeholders to ensure a conducive environment exists for a successful initiation season. It is important to be vigilant so as to ensure that we reach our Zero Death objectives.
Guided by our theme “We Love Our Tradition, We Value Life of Our Youth”, we urge parents and communities not to drop the ball, but to remain vigilant throughout this period to ensure our children return back home alive. Let’s adopt a Zero Tolerance to initiation deaths. It is important to note that even when the initiates are at the initiation schools, parents are still primarily responsible for their health; this is one role that they cannot outsource or delegate.
Together we can ensure that we protect this important and sacred traditional practice. This can be possible with the involvement of communities and parents.
We urge communities to report any wrong doing related to initiation through contacting our executive committee.
Remember, God uses us as mentors to guide and help those who are in need of help and take them to the next level. When our community works together, we win together.