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Last modified: 09 Feb 2018
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Healthy return for Kouga male initiates

06 February 2018

The Kouga region recorded another successful traditional male circumcision season, with no reported fatalities or serious injuries to initiates.

More than 120 boys, from 13 sites across Kouga, went through the manhood rite of passage, known as "Ulwaluko" which is mostly performed by Xhosa people.

Only two participants had to be admitted to hospital for complications but were released back to the initiation school to finish their courses and later returned home.

Kouga Speaker Horatio Hendricks, under whose authority the Local Initiation Forum resides, attributed the success of the season to all responsible parties respecting their roles and working in a coordinated fashion.

“When we launched the forum last year, we said we wanted to preserve the dignity of the custom, but most importantly, to protect the lives of our children,” he said.

Through his office, Hendricks arranged for bottled water sponsorships and for municipal water points to be provided near the initiation schools for hygiene and to combat dehydration.

“All stakeholders will still meet to assess the process in detail and identify areas for improvement,” said Hendricks.

The custom is governed by the Eastern Cape Customary Male Initiation Practice Act No 5 of 2016.

The ritual – though not so much in Kouga – has been dogged by stories of abuse of initiates and malpractice by unqualified people, resulting in serious injuries and death to the participants.

Forum Chairperson for Kouga Xolile Kattoo, a well-known local traditional surgeon, thanked the municipality and the Department of Health for the support and coordination of the initiation season.

“We want to encourage other stakeholders who we may not have reached yet to get in touch with us, so as to see what each of us can contribute towards a successful and dignified practice of the custom,” he said.