Parents in Limpopo urged to refrain from enrolling under aged children in initiation schools

A total of 631 children, comprising 359 males and 272 females, are scheduled to attend initiation school in Limpopo, this year. Picture: Supplied

A total of 631 children, comprising 359 males and 272 females, are scheduled to attend initiation school in Limpopo, this year. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 11, 2024


The Limpopo Provincial Initiation Coordinating Committee (PICC) has urged parents and guardians to enrol children in registered and approved initiation schools to avoid deaths. This announcement follows the scheduled attendance of 631 children—359 boys and 272 girls—at initiation schools this year.

The PICC made this statement during a pre-workshop hosted by Limpopo's MEC for Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements, and Traditional Affairs, Basikopo Makamu, at Jack Botes Hall in Polokwane last Wednesday.

The workshop was attended by Hosi Shitlamgoma Chauke, Chairperson of the PICC, representatives from the Limpopo House of Traditional and Khoi-San leaders, the Department of Health, the South African Police Service (SAPS), the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), senior traditional leaders, traditional surgeons, and principals of initiation schools.

In his address, Makamu emphasised that initiation schools hold a revered position in cultural heritage and play a crucial role as a rite of passage for the youth.

He stated that this year, the PICC received 703 applications, comprising 389 from boys and 314 from girls across different districts within the province.

However, "out of 703 applications received, 631 (359 boys and 272 girls) were approved," he said. Makamu added that the initiation process will begin on 14 June and conclude on 13 July, with measures implemented to ensure a safer initiation school season with zero fatalities.

“We have put tighter measures in place through the establishment of a Provincial Initiation Coordinating Committee, in terms of the Customary Initiation Act 02 of 2021,” he said.

He explained that the act grants PICC members the authority to supervise the behaviour of senior traditional leaders, principal surgeons, caregivers, and parental cooperation to prevent deaths and the operation of illegal schools within the province.

“As we approach the 2024 winter season, I am proud to share that the Limpopo provincial government is fully prepared, and our readiness is a result of the concerted efforts of various stakeholders, diligently coordinated to safeguard the health, safety, and cultural integrity of the initiation process,” said Makamu.

Additionally, Makamu mentioned that they have collaborated with the Department of Health to ensure that only registered doctors and experienced traditional healers conduct initiation rituals, aiming to prevent injuries and botched circumcisions.

“SAPS will be on standby to attend to any illegal activities and reports of assaults, abductions, operation of illegal initiation schools, and overcrowding,” he added.

Meanwhile, Hosi Shitlamgoma Chauke, Chairperson of the PICC, has urged parents and guardians to refrain from enrolling children under the age of 12 in initiation schools.

“This may result in fatalities as seen in previous years,” he warned. He said that PICC members, along with officials from traditional affairs, will conduct daily monitoring of initiation schools from beginning to end, ensuring a safer and successful initiation school season in the province.

Chauke called on parents to enrol their children in initiation schools that are approved and registered.