Members of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders gathered at Oliver Tambo Hall in Zwelitsha recently to discuss issues relating to circumcision and initiation with members of the community. Also in attendance was ward 41 councillor Sindiswa Skepe.
During the gathering, the hosts gave advice to parents of children about to undergo initiation. Parents were urged to always ensure their children had enough water to keep them hydrated. Initiates were also advised to eat samp or maize meal.without beans or dry samp mixed with milk. Another recommendation was dry maize meal without salt.
After the presentation, members of the community were allowed to offer comment and ask questions. Many residents complaints about the way initiation was being handled by authorities and parents.
Gcobani Lindi accused parents of initiates of giving their children alcohol before they left for initiation, which had to stop.
“We must stop the bad habit of giving or sending alcohol and drugs into the bush because we are killing the initiates,” Lindi said.
Agrippa Ganya also raised concerns about lack of responsibility shown by some parents towards initiation, like not ensuring enough sleep.
“Some of the initiates do not get enough sleep before they go into the bush because they’re under the influence of liquor and drugs,” he said.
Another resident, Sisa Ngwane, complained that police focused too much on parents whenever something went wrong instead of addressing the traditional nurses responsible.