By: Vuyolwethu Nzolongwane
Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address on June 27 which moved the country from alert level 2 to alert level 4, initiation season has been indefinitely put on hold. This was after the winter initiation season was opened from June 11 and set to end on July 30.
The closure of initiation schools meant that thousands of young men who were eagerly prepared to undergo the traditional passage to manhood have been delayed.
According to the acting Chairperson of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders, Nkosi Langa Mavuso “parents are expected to comply with Section 19 of the Disaster Management Regulations without fail or resistance. Imigidi can be organized at a later stage when the current conditions necessitated by the Covid 19 pandemic have improved.”
The closure of the winter initiation season has paved the path for illegal initiations and frustration amongst many young boys who were ready to undergo the traditional initiation process as well as their families who had already started making preparations for traditional ceremonies such as umgidi.
Buffalo City Metro Traditional Leaders Chief Whip, Stanley Makinana shared his concerns regarding illegal initiation schools and the dangers thereof. He extended his apologies to all the families who were in preparation for the traditional rite of passage and also advised Buffalo City residents to be patient and obey the rules that have been put in place to protect them.
“The closure of the initiation season has created a lot of illegal initiations because now the big challenge that we have been faced with after the president’s announcement is the influx of young men who have undergone illegal circumcision. Another predicament is that of those who have already gone to initiation school before the closure, and whose parents have already made preparations and bought everything in preparation of following customs and traditions,” he said.
Eastern Cape Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Xolile Nqatha welcomed the presidential announcement and called for all stakeholders involved in the practice of ulwaluko to cooperate.
“The third wave is raging and we must all work together to ensure no mushrooming of new amabhuma in our areas. Our law enforcement agencies stand ready to deal with any deviations to the regulations including closing down illegal amabhuma,” he said.