Traditional authority, CONTRALESA, has given the green light for initiation schools to open in December. The sacred ceremonies, which are called ingoma, are usually held during winter.

But this year, they were suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mokoena says initiation schools will have to follow strict COVID-19 regulations.

CONTRALESA President, Chief Lameck Mokoena, says they also plan to get rid of illegal initiation schools.

“We are doing this to avoid having illegal schools, illegal schools will self-circumcise which is very dangerous, we have taken this decision being sober in our minds, to say all those people to be given permits to run initiation schools will have to adhere to the protocol as stated by our regulations.”

Contralesa forges ahead with summer initiation schools in December

Mixed views over re-opening of initiation schools

In Bushbuckridge, people have expressed divergent views about the decision to reopen initiation schools. Some believe they are not safe because initiates sometimes die, while others feel the schools are still relevant.

“It should be stopped, but because our traditional leaders want money, that’s why they influence the initiation schools,” says one resident.

“I think it’s important because most of the people still believe in that tradition and as people of Mpumalanga, we do support it,” says another resident.

Hikos Mokoena runs an initiation school in Bushbuckridge.

He believes the schools play a big role in molding boys to become responsible men.

“We are happy and appreciate the way the CONTRALESA has brought the chance to put back Ingoma, our culture; we are going to tell everybody about this.”

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