Initiation Forums Discuss Matters of Common Concern
A meeting of 26 representatives of initiation forums from across the Western Cape took place in Stellenbosch, on 25 August 2014. The practice of initiation is a culturally specific rite of passage which marks the transition from boyhood (ubukhwenkwe in isiXhosa) to manhood (ubudoda in isiXhosa). AmaXhosa, Basotho and amaHlubi representatives discussed the most recent initiation season with a focus on initiate safety, protecting cultural knowledge and enhancing mutual respect.
The meeting was organised by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS). Topics included the provision of water to initiation sites and training of carers and traditional surgeons.
During the welcome, Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, described initiation as a cultural practice with health implications. She said even a single death is a death too many. DCAS actively takes steps to promote safe initiation through its initiation protocol and guidelines and through hosting meetings, at which the custodians of cultural knowledge can discuss matters of mutual concern.