Media Statement: Minister Marais assures WCG is Summer Initiation Season Ready | Western Cape Government

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Media Statement: Minister Marais assures WCG is Summer Initiation Season Ready

22 November 2019

Today marks the official start of the summer initiation season whose duration is from the 1 November 2019 till the 31 January 2020. Initiation in the Western Cape is practised twice per year, in winter and summer.

Initiation is a rite of passage predominantly practised by amaHlubi, amaXhosa and Basotho in the Western Cape. Since 2007 the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) started the Initiation Coordination Programme to deal with challenges faced by this practice. 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.

The Department has over the years managed to cultivate a good working relationship with the custodians of the practice, namely, Traditional Leaders and Initiation Forums. To date the Department 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 constitute individuals and institutions that have a direct impact on the practice of initiation.

In support of the programme the Department works with other provincial departments, such as Department of Health, Department of Social Development, South African Police Services, Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, municipalities, and public entities such as, Cape Nature and Mountain-to-Ocean; to coordinate government’s efforts in ensuring effective and efficient management of initiation practice and synchronise approaches.

Minister Anroux Marais said: “As government we want to call upon parents to come on board and play their rightful place in this practice and support the efforts of the initiation forums. We urge them to prepare the boys timeously, share with them the critical indigenous knowledge; they are the fathers of tomorrow. They must inspire them to take forward the baton! Medical screening is crucial to ensure that they are medically fit and to prevent unnecessary death of our young citizens”.

In preparation for the summer season, we as government have trained 35 traditional surgeons and 103 traditional carers involved in the practice, in Health and Hygiene processes as well as fire and environmental management. We have ready 54 fire extinguishers, 50 fire beaters and buckets to manage fires, to provide 250 First Aid kits, procured 10 water tanks for the initiates and have negotiated with municipalities the provision of drinking water throughout the season. Monitoring teams are ready to be deployed to monitor initiates and sites to report and respond accordingly to existing challenges.

Media Enquiries: 
Stacy McLean

Spokesperson to Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais
083 504 1171