NULL Kouga local municipality
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Last modified: 18 Oct 2018
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Kouga prepares for the summer initiation season

16 October 2018

The Kouga Local Initiation Forum is calling for stakeholders to once again join hands so as to ensure a successful summer traditional male circumcision season.

With the schools closing soon, it is expected that scores of boys, mostly from the Xhosa tribe, across Kouga will undergo the rite of passage to manhood.

The forum, which falls under Council Speaker Hatting Bornman’s office, has overseen successful and incident-free initiation seasons since it was formed last year.

Bornman said the success was owed to the stakeholders working around the clock to ensure that nothing was left to chance.

“The horrific stories of boys losing their lives or losing organs due to botched circumcisions must never find their way to Kouga and all of us must ensure that the law that governs the custom reigns supreme,” he said.

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 while parents must sign a consent form after the prospective initiate has undergone medical assessment.

Those who contravene the Act may be imposed with hefty fines or face imprisonment.

“Collectively, we will be on the lookout for opportunists who degrade the custom and end up putting lives of our young men at risk. Parents must remember that it is only them who can give consent and initiates must be 18 years or older,” he said.

The ritual, known as "Ulwaluko" in Xhosa, had – though not so much in Kouga –been dogged by stories of abuse of initiates and malpractice by unqualified people, resulting in serious injuries and death.

The various stakeholders who make up the forum include the Department of Health, the municipality, traditional surgeons, non-governmental organisations and other government departments.