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26 October 2012

Initiation roadshow planned

The government and traditional leaders will hold roadshows in the Eastern Cape in an attempt to ensure safe initiations during December, officials said.

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The government and traditional leaders will hold roadshows in the Eastern Cape in an attempt to ensure safe initiations during December, officials said on Thursday.

They would focus on the Buffalo City Metro (BCM), and the Chris Hani, OR Tambo, and Alfred Nzo district municipalities, the sites of many initiation-related deaths in previous years.

In June and July this year there were 32 deaths in OR Tambo, and six in Chris Hani. BCM and Alfred Nzo had five each. The Eastern Cape department of traditional affairs and the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders were organising the roadshows.

They said in a statement: "Our teams on the roadshows share information with stakeholders on the main causes of deaths of initiates and how to avoid them."

Initiations are a rite of passage for young men who choose it, and include a period of living in the bush in difficult conditions, and circumcision. The theme this year was: "Mabaye bephile, babuye bonke bephile" (ensuring safe passage to manhood).

In the past, children had needed medical treatment for septic wounds or gangrene to the circumcised area, and some had died. Some had been taken to circumcision schools without parental consent.

(Sapa, October 2012)

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