Cape Town – The winter initiation season in Langa, which started at the end of June, has been a great success, according to a report released by the Embo Initiation Forum over the weekend.
The forum recorded a 100% safe pass rate with all 28 initiates coming out of the initiation site healthy.
Of these initiates between the ages of 19 to 41 years, more than half of them came from the surrounding areas like Gugulethu, Rondebosch, Parklands and Goodwood.
Embo is an open forum for men in Langa taking pride in matters of culture and traditions, particularly the preservation and protection of the initiation tradition.
The forum has in the past been marred in controversy with infighting among the committee members.
Embo chairperson Madoda Mabuto said the newly-appointed committee was definitely making inroads in restoring the dignity of the tradition which was compromised by the previous committee. He said there were also no transfers of initiates to clinics or hospitals and no hazards like fire or sickness reported before the departure of the initiates. “We attribute this season’s initiation success to the task team appointed with the confidence of the community and adherence of parents to processes and procedures followed at the school.”
Mabuto said communication and working relations that improved between the task team, traditional surgeons and carers had also impacted on this seasons success. However, he said the committee had picked up some challenges that needed prioritisation, and if left unattended would compromise the tradition.
He expressed concern over the lack of security at the initiation sites, and called for the need for security personnel to regulate the flow of visitors, which do unwanted activities within the vicinity of the site.
“The use of drugs and alcohol by men in the presence of the initiates, which may cause some of the initiates to use them as well .
“The newly appointed committee will address these challenges by expanding committees into sub committees, such as safety and security, health and education and also identifying stakeholders and partners to assist these committees with expertise and resources.”
The committee also encouraged the vetting of traditional surgeons and carers including committee members to ensure their fitness to perform the set duties. However, the policy was still in implementation stage, he said.
It also called on government policy developers demanding changes and transition in the initiation programme to hold proper engagements with stakeholders, as they were not aware of the dynamics at grassroots, it said.
The committee called on all local men to attend meetings and participate in discussions, “so that we all own the tradition, processes, success stories and challenges,” Mabuto added.