This coming initiation, leaders within the Eastern Cape should work towards curbing initiation deaths in the province. The House of Traditional Leaders and the department of health should pull out all the stops to ensure that a plan of action is put in place to protect our boys at initiation schools.
Many initiates die due to negligence, maltreatment, dehydration and malnutrition.
Boys should be properly screened before going to initiation schools in order to detect opportunistic diseases in advance; this procedure should be conducted in the presence of their parents or guardians. If any problems are detected during this process, traditional authorities and guardians must intervene quickly in order to avoid major health issues arising once the young man has entered initiation school.
Areas that should be closely monitored by authorities are Nyandeni, Bizana, Ntabankulu, Port St Johns and the O R Tambo region. Law enforcement officials and relevant community leaders should collaborate in order to monitor possible illegal initiation schools within those areas.
Young boys must be educated about the negative consequences of attending illegal schools. They should be educated about the importance of the ritual for their transition from childhood to manhood and the importance of following proper procedures in this regard.
Nelson Mandela once said, “Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth who care for and protect our people”.
Leaders of the Eastern Cape, let us unite and prioritise this issue in order to curb initiation deaths and protect our children. — Sanele Magaqa MPL, Shadow MEC for Human Settlements