A request by women in Bhisho to become more involved in the traditional initiation process following the continued high rate of deaths in the Eastern Cape, has drawn fierce criticism.
AbaThembu chief Buyanda Matanzima, denied allegations that traditional nurses and doctors were not performing their duties well.
“Women must not enter [initiation] because as men, we don’t enter during the birth period in clinics and hospitals,” said Bhisho resident Mzukisi Manga.
However, Manga admitted that the initiation process was in need of improvement.
“The intervention of our official government is important to our communities. This is a painful matter for all parents in the province and things continue to go wrong.”
Another male resident, Thembelani Ningo, said a women must “cook food for our sons and make Xhosa beer” and stay out of initiation.
“If they intervene, we will be are starting a big problem and are also demolishing our rituals as the Xhosa nation,” Ningo said.
Mthuthuzeli Nanazo expressed concerns that allowing women to become involved in initiation would negatively impact the tradition.
“If they enter, then they are going to change things as soon as possibleI think some are interested because of their excitement to go there [initiation sites] and that is letting down our culture.”