Contralesa concerned that government’s silence will lead to illegal initiation schools this summer

President of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) Kgoshi Lameck Mokoena is concerned that government’s silence on initiation schools will lead to illegal schools this summer.

Mokoena was reacting to government’s review of COVID-19 restrictions.

President Cyril Ramaphosa moved the country from Alert Level 3 to Alert Level 2 on Sunday.

Mokoena called on government to engage Contralesa to discuss the issue of initiation schools.

Mokoena says ingoma holders are making inquiries and are threatening to conduct initiation schools with or without government approval.

Provinces such as Free State, Eastern Cape, Gauteng, and North West conduct initiation school in summer. And some ingoma holders in these provinces are already preparing to open the initiation schools.

Traditional leaders and ingoma holders want government to lift the ban on initiation schools.

Contralesa President, Lameck Mokoena, says the government should expedite the process.

“Issues that affect traditional leadership are being sidelined, or are afterthoughts. We are raising this concern because when other entities are told to open even though in a controlled state, when it comes to the issue of traditional leadership we are orphaned. We are on our own.”

Mokoena says some provinces are already preparing themselves for the summer initiation schools. He says government has to come to the table to avoid mushrooming of illegal initiation schools which might have dire consequences.

“Already, I have got a call from Eastern Cape, Gauteng, and North West … they are saying they are preparing and they are going ahead. What makes matters to be more serious, some of the traditional leaders say with or without government approval are going to continue practicing their culture of initiation schools, and if that happens anything is possible.”

The initiation practice is an old tradition believed to be preparing youth for the transition to manhood, through cultural teachings.

Lately, the cultural practice had been commercialised and some initiates killed due to unsupervised circumcision.