WESTERN CAPE NEWS - It is that time of the year where hundreds of young boys throughout the country will take a journey to manhood. Some say it is a journey of no return, while to others it is a journey of purification, rejuvenation, the beginning of a new life as it separates the boys from the men.
Initiation is a rite of passage practised in the Western Cape predominantly by amaHlubi, amaXhosa and Basotho.
In 2007 the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport started the Initiation Coordination Programme to deal with challenges faced by this practice. The goal of the Initiation Coordination Programme is to create a safe and enabling environment for the effective rite of passage to responsible adulthood and citizenship.
Poorly executed initiation practices have left mothers painfully losing their sons, sometimes without an explanation, while some men will never bear offspring or feel the sensation of intimate gratification. Those who run away will be boys for the rest of their lives - and this all happens in the name of tradition.
The Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport has declared the summer initiation season for 2019 open. The season lasts from 1 November till 31 January 2020. In the Western Cape, initiation is practised twice per year, in winter and summer.
The Department has over the years managed to cultivate a good working relationship with the traditional leaders and initiation forums, the custodians of the practice. To date the Department has facilitated the establishment of 32 initiation forums in all the communities who observe and practise initiation throughout the province.
Initiation forums serve as a first point of contact and constitute individuals and institutions that have a direct impact on the practice of initiation.
In support of the programme, the Department works with other role players to coordinate Government's efforts in ensuring effective and efficient management of initiation practice and to synchronise approaches. These role players include the provincial departments of Health, of Social Development, of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, the police, municipalities and public entities such as CapeNature and Mountain-to-Ocean.
In preparation for the summer season, Government has trained 35 traditional surgeons and 103 traditional carers involved in the practice, in health and hygiene processes as well as fire and environmental management.
For more information, contact the chairperson of the George Initiation Forum, Mzwandile Gingcana, on 071 773 6565.
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