DCAS Initiation Coordination Programme expected to boost safety of initiates
The Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) launched its annual Initiation Coordination Programme on Friday, 22 November 2019. The day marked the official start of the initiation season.
Initiation is a rite of passage practised by the amaHlubi, amaXhosa and Basotho people. DCAS has run the coordination programme every year since 2007 to combat the challenges faced by the practice and to increase safety.
This year the department facilitated health, fire and environmental management training for 103 AmaKhamkadha (traditional carers). DCAS also provided fire extinguishers, fire beaters, fire buckets, first aid kits and water tanks. The Department also negotiated with municipalities to provide drinking water throughout the season.
Anroux Marais, Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, encouraged the parents of initiates to also ensure their sons were kept safe.
“As government we want to call upon parents to come on board and take their rightful place in this practice and support the efforts of the initiation forums,” Minister Marais said. “We urge them to prepare the boys timeously and share with them the critical indigenous knowledge. They are the fathers of tomorrow. They must inspire them to take the baton forward. Medical screening is crucial to ensure that they are medically fit and to prevent the unnecessary deaths of our younger citizens.”
The goal of the Initiation Coordination Programme is to create a safe and enabling environment for the effective rite of passage to responsible adulthood and citizenship, and this has been achieved by creating good working relationships with traditional leaders.
In support of the programme, DCAS has joined forces with the Departments of Health, Social Development and Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries, municipalities as well as public entities such as Cape Nature and Mountain-to-Ocean, the Ikamva Lesizwe Institute and the SA Police Services.
To date DCAS has facilitated the establishment of 32 Initiation Forums throughout the province in all the communities who observe and practise initiation. Initiation Forums serve as a first point of contact and consist of individuals and institutions which have a direct impact on the practice of initiation.
The Department has also produced an information booklet containing all the important information about the initiation programme.
The DCAS aims to facilitate the safe practice of cultural traditions in the Western Cape. BETTER TOGETHER.