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Last modified: 15 Mar 2019
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Summer circumcision season closes

28 February 2019
Some of the young men who successfully completed the rite of passage to manhood this summer.

Some of the young men who successfully completed the rite of passage to manhood this summer.

Kouga Public Participation Officer Fumanekile Lloyd was among the roleplayers who encouraged the young men to finish school and to be the kind of men their communities need.

Kouga Public Participation Officer Fumanekile Lloyd was among the roleplayers who encouraged the young men to finish school and to be the kind of men their communities need.

The summer circumcision season recently came to a close with a first-time event to welcome the young men home.

The event was specifically focused on those young men who were still in school but had just completed the rite of passage to manhood,  practiced mostly by the Xhosa tribe in the area. 

"Our schools have been concerned about the number of learners wanting to leave school once they have completed the rite, even if they have not yet finished matric," said Kouga Speaker Hattingh Bornman, under whose office the Kouga Local Initiation Forum fall. 

"The aim of the programme was to encourage the young men to stay at school and to share with them what it means to be a man." 

Roleplayers at the event, held at KwaNomzamo, included the Forum, SAPS, the East Cape Departments of Education, Social Development and Health, the Kouga Moral Regeneration Movement and NGOs such as Sakhe Singamadoda. 

The young men learnt that being a man doesn't mean one could do however one pleases. Instead, it means taking responsibility and behaving responsibly. 

The young men were also encouraged to respect themselves and others. 

"What stood out for me, was the call on us to take care of our homes, our community and broader society," one of the young men said.

No deaths or serious injuries to initiaites were reported in Kouga this past season. 

The Speaker thanked the Kouga Local Initiation Forum and other roleplayers for helping to ensure the custom was practised safely and in accordance with the book. 

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

Only certified traditional surgeons and traditional nurses may perform circumcision or tend to initiates and parents must sign a consent form after the prospective initiate has undergone medical assessment.

Those who contravene the Act may have hefty fines imposed on them or face imprisonment.

The practice in the province has been dogged by stories of abuse of initiates by unqualified surgeons and nurses, resulting in serious injuries and death.

Bornman said this wasn't prevalent in Kouga, but they were not going to take any chances.