DTA Deputy Minister Obed Bapela

Summer Initiation Season


The Department of Traditional Affairs has begun with the preparations for the 2016 summer initiation season. The summer initiation is held in some provinces such as Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Western Cape and the North West. Although the initiation season has started in some provinces, some will start immediately after the end of the 2016 exams.

The summer season will also see young men across the country embarking on this sacred path which has been a central element of traditional African cultures since time immemorial and a necessary part of many African communities.

Like other initiation seasons, challenges like abductions, kidnappings, illegal and unregistered schools, and the deaths of initiates might occur. The Department of Traditional Affairs will continue to work tirelessly with all stakeholders in an effort to bring to an end this challenges, especially the death of initiates.

In pursuit of the “Zero Deaths” campaign during the initiation seasons, parents are urged to ensure that their children are medically prepared to enter this sacred path. Since some causes of deaths in the previous initiations seasons was due to dehydration, parents are urged to ensure that their children drink lots of water the undertaking this path.

“Government will continue to engage with all sectors and role-players, including communities to ensure that we work together to save the lives of our children”, said Minister van Rooyen.

‘We urge parents to be involved in this process from the beginning to the end when their children return back home from initiation schools and this will assist to save many promising lives”, said Deputy Minister Bapela.

This means that parents should ensure that only properly registered initiation schools and registered surgeons are use. It is important to note that even when the initiates are at the initiation schools, parents are still the primarily responsible for their health.

Parents are still urged and encouraged to work in partnership with traditional leaders, government and all stakeholders to ensure a conducive process for a successful initiation season to take place, especially the recognition that children too have rights in line with the constitution.

Some challenges that were experienced and are now anticipated includes:

  • Psychological readiness
  • Parents not using legal initiation schools
  • Mushrooming of illegal initiation schools
  • Young men not going through the pre-screening process
  • Young undergoing initiation not drinking water, pre/during and post initiation process.

We are urging communities, especially parents, care givers or legal guardians to play their part and support our zero deaths approach during the summer season. We should all declare that enough is enough and ensure zero death rate in future,” said Minister van Rooyen.

The department also called of the coordinating forums in provinces to continue being vigilant. “As government we will not be able to bring an end to this illegal initiation schools if communities are not involved. It takes communities to raise responsible young men who can contribute positively to the future of our country”, said DM Nel.

The Political principals of CoGTA will conduct unscheduled visits to a number of provinces as part of the interventions and monitoring. The random visits will also serve as part of the department’s crack down of illegal initiations schools during the initiation season.

Together we can ensure that we protect this important and sacred treasure of our people. This can be possible with the involvement of communities and parents. “We Love Our Tradition, We Value the Life of Our Youth”. Let us ensure the safety our children – by adopting a “Zero Tolerance to initiation deaths”.


Legadima Leso


083 378 9495