Minister Marais visits initiation Covid-19 safety training session
On Saturday, 20 March 2021, Minister Anroux Marais visited the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport’s Initiation Programme Training Session, as the Western Cape Government proactively prepares for the sacred practice of initiation to take place under COVID-19 regulations, once nationally permitted to do so.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent lockdown regulations brought initiation to a standstill throughout the country. In the Western Cape, as in other provinces, the initiation rite of passage, predominantly practiced by AmaXhosa, AmaHlubi and Basotho, was suspended during the year 2020 in line with national regulations.
To ensure that the Western Cape is fully prepared for the return of this sacred practise once permitted, and to ensure the safety of all those involved, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) hosted consultation sessions with traditional leaders and the Somagwaza Institute, resulting in the co-creation of the first draft of the Standing Operating Procedures for the Initiation practice under COVID-19 conditions in the Western Cape.
We are eternally grateful for this collaboration and thank all who had a hand in the compilation of the first of its kind SOPs draft.
The DCAS then consulted with Initiation Forums, the Initiation Reference Committee, Provincial Initiation Coordination Committee, interested formulations as well as traditional leaders who are the custodians of the practice to agree and pave way for the training and preparation of all involved to enable them to implement COVID-19 Regulations should initiation schools reopen.
We express our gratitude to our dedicated officials for persevering in trying times and for their determination to innovatively assist those we serve with the care and responsiveness it requires.
During the programme’s keynote address, Minister Marais said, “I am happy to announce that the Department has kept its word and with the assistance of our valued stakeholders, came up with a roadmap for the implementation of initiation practice under COVID-19 conditions in the Western Cape. Today, initiation is not yet allowed in the Western Cape, but in adopting a proactive approach, the Department is currently in a process of training cultural practitioners and members of initiation forums to be equipped in the new norm of the sector so to be ready to resume safe initiation practices as soon as we receive the national green light to proceed. The department is also preparing documentation which will pave way for the opening of initiation in Western Cape, subject to approval from the National Government of the risk adjusted SOP’s and most importantly, subject to the progression of the pandemic with the 3rd wave on the horizon.
Today, it gives me great pleasure to join you at one of the training sessions. Even more so, I am honoured to present participants with certificates of attendance as only those who have attended the training will be allowed to participate should initiation schools reopen.
I trust the very significant SOPs, training and engagements taking place today and going forward will not only save lives as the practice of initiation reopens, but will instil a sense of purpose as we now navigate through and to our new norm in the sector. I again take this opportunity to wholeheartedly thank all involved as you have indeed assisted the Department in our key objective to ensure a safe and enabling environment for initiates and the effective rite of passage”.
Spokesperson for the Minister of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais
083 504 1171