Initiation Protocol and Guidelines | Western Cape Government

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(Western Cape Government)

Initiation Protocol and Guidelines

(Western Cape Government)

Initiation Protocol and Guidelines

The Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport promotes the safe and hygienic cultural practice of initiation through the development of appropriate infrastructure at initiation sites throughout the province.

Male initiation rites illustrate the transition from boyhood (ubukhwenkwe) to manhood (ubudoda). The initiation practices of amaXhosa, abeSotho and amaHlubi are the most dominant in the Western Cape.

No particular age is specified for these rites (males between the ages of 15 and 25 undergo initiation). Initiation is an important social custom that deals with adolescence.

The training and preparation provided at the initiation schools enable the transition from childhood behaviour to adulthood. Initiation is one of the few cultural practices that has endured and survived social, economic and political changes over the centuries.

The following initiation protocol and guidelines will not only make the initiation practices safer, but will ensure that it adds value to the cultural lives of the communities of the province. The approach followed by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport encourages:

  • Community participation in issues pertaining to initiation
  • Greater community awareness
  • Increased awareness of health concerns
  • Community co-operation with health institutions
  • The establishment of practitioner structures
  • Standardisation of the practice
  • Skilled traditional practitioners and carers
  • Bringing the practice in line with the modern needs of communities
  • Seasonal job creation opportunities in line with the Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP)
  • Secure and serviced initiation sites
  • Mainstreaming of the practice

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport wishes to congratulate all the people undergoing initiation this season. May your journey from childhood to responsible citizenship be safe and full of learning. May you all return as healthy, vibrant young men, ready to contribute meaningfully to building our province and country.

Mr Thandwa Ntshona
Tel: 021 483 9714

The content on this page was last updated on 11 October 2018