Applications pour in for initiation schools in Limpopo

Friday, June 26, 2009

Limpopo - The Limpopo House of Traditional Leaders has received and approved 325 applications to open initiation schools this year.

"The initiation season for this year has begun in earnest. About 325 applications have been received and approved so far and we will ensure that all schools comply with provisions of both the Initiations Act and the Schools Act," said Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale.

He was speaking at the opening of the Limpopo House of Traditional Leaders in the Sekhukhune District on Friday.

Initiation schools in the province usually open a week before schools close for the winter holiday.

However, he warned that the provincial government would move with speed to immediately close illegal schools and those charging exorbitant fees.

"Once again, I appeal that lives should be spared during this initiation period, as one life lost is one too many," he said.

Mr Mathale said initiation schools must promote the highest standards of cultural education which can help society to rid itself of crime and social abuse.

"We look forward to this cultural institution producing more cultured men and women who can become positive role models in society," he said.

Traditional surgeons were urged not to circumcise boys under the age of 12 as a measure to help avoid unnecessary deaths at initiation schools.

The province's Deputy Chairperson of the House of Traditional Leaders, Khosi Vho-Vusani Netshimbupfe, said: "We want to warn our traditional surgeons to refrain from circumcising under-age boys because we do not want initiation schools to be seen as a place of tears."

In 2007, there were 232 initiation schools in Limpopo, but most of them were closed early because of rain and cold weather.

Last year, six boys died at one of the province's legal initiation schools.

Five of the initiates who died from an extreme case of diarrhoea, were from the Capricorn District, while the other was from the Vhembe District. He was admitted to a local hospital for vomiting.

A further 45 more initiates were admitted at the Mankweng, Seshego and Lebowakgomo Hospitals for dehydration, but they were soon after discharged.