ActionSA Welcomes CONTRALESA’s Efforts to Prevent Deaths of Initiates

ActionSA welcomes the call by the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (CONTRALESA) for the formalisation and institutionalisation of the initiation process.

The President of CONTRALESA, Kgoshi Mathupa Mokoena’s initiative to publicly declare the beginning of the initiation season, in a bid to raise awareness amongst communities and to take charge, will hopefully avert the unnecessary and avoidable fatalities. We call for communities in which initiation is a practice to observe the regulations and ‘traditional protocols’ to be announced by CONTRALESA.

In our press statement, issued in December 2022, we lamented the unnecessary loss of life of 34 initiates during the 2022 summer initiation season. We highlighted the prevalent cause of initiation deaths, which is the existence of ‘illegal initiation schools’ run by fly-by-night inexperienced and unsupervised individuals. Therefore, the regulated registration of initiation schools needs to be mandatory and policed.

We reiterate our appeal for a collaborative effort between all stakeholders, especially from the parents of the initiates, to preserve this sacred cultural practice by preventing the unnecessary loss of life. This can only be achieved through the registration and supervision of all initiation schools by CONTRALESA and in collaboration with the relevant provincial departments and the families of initiates.

If this is done effectively there need not be any more loss of life because many areas of the Province carry out this ritual year in and year out without any tragedy.

ActionSA urges the government of the Eastern Cape, in collaboration with CONTRALESA, to restore and protect the pride and dignity of the initiation practice by putting every possible  measure in place to prevent the existence and operation of unrecognised, “illegal initiation schools”  during the ensuing initiation season.