Driftsands to be Unveiled as Initiation Site | Western Cape Government


Driftsands to be Unveiled as Initiation Site

7 June 2012

On Friday, 8 June 2012, Western Cape Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Dr Ivan Meyer, and Dr Quentin Espey, Executive Director: Conservation Management, CapeNature, will unveil the new Driftsands Initiation Site. A historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Driftsands Initiation Village Committee and CapeNature will also be signed.

The Driftsands Initiation Site is the result of an initiative taken in 2003 by the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport and CapeNature. The aim was to engage groups such as the conservation organisations, relevant government departments and surrounding communities to ensure that this very important rite of passage, male initiation rites, which illustrate the transition from boyhood (ubukhwenkwe) to manhood (ubudoda), takes place within a secure and safe environment.

The initiation practice is deeply rooted in our communities, not only in the rural areas of the province, but more so in the Metro region.

The initiation programme of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport has the following goals and objectives:

To create a safe, secure, sustainable and enabling environment for the effective rite of passage to responsible adulthood and citizenship.


  • To develop and strengthen community and governmental initiatives that improve the cultural practice of initiation.
  • To provide guidelines for the practice of initiation.
  • To minimise the gap between communities and government on initiation practices.
  • To enhance inter-provincial co-operation.
  • To institutionalise and mainstream this practice as part of the cultural landscape of the Western Cape.
  • To improve the standards and current practices in initiation.
  • To encourage community participation and involvement.

The Western Cape Government, in collaboration with community-based initiation structures, is involved in training iingcibi (traditional surgeons) and amakhankatha (carers) in first aid, environment management and fire management to ensure that the highest level of care is received by initiates.

CapeNature's Programme Manager: People and Conservation, Melikhaya Pantsi, highlights that through its People and Conservation Programme's People and Parks initiative, his organisations engages all interested and affected parties living adjacent to our managed protected areas on issues of culture, tradition and utilisation of natural resources in a way that benefits both present and future generation. This is the right that is enshrined in the RSA Constitution Act 108 (Act 108 06 1996).

To date, CapeNature's deep-rooted people-centred approach has resulted in four MoUs being signed in the last two years.

Boland Area

  • MoU signed with Nyhabingi - House of Stellenbosch for access to Jonkershoek Nature Reserve (2010/2011).
  • MoU signed with Nyhabingi - House of Paarl for access to Limietberg Nature Reserve (2011/2012).

Garden Route Area

  • MoU signed with Blanco - for access to Malgas picnic site for spiritual purposes (2011/2012).

Cape Metro

  • MoU signed with Driftsands Protected Area Advisory Committee for bilateral engagements (2010/2011).

CapeNature Area Manager in the Metro, Mandisa Mdala, said:
"The interface with communities is more than just access to protected areas, it's about embracing who we are, our traditions and cultures, utilisation of natural resources and appreciation of community participation in the management of protected areas".

"As the season starts let us look forward to taking our sons through this important rite of passage not with anxiety and angst but with confidence in the knowledge that they have gone through all the necessary tests and medical screening and that they will come back as men and responsible citizens that we can be proud of.

Masiqule sizilungiselele (let us be ready).

Media Enquiries: 

Daniel Johnson
Tel: 021 483 3261
Fax: 021 483 9801
Cell: 079 990 4231
E-mail: Daniel.Johnson@pgwc.gov.za

Liesl Brink
Media Officer at CapeNature
Tel: 021 483 0080
Cell: 071 688 2649
E-mail: lbrink@capenature.co.za