The KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nomusa Dube-Ncube has highlighted the zero rate of casualties among initiates in the traditional circumcision rituals (Ulwaluko) in Kokstad this year as a giant leap in the right direction in preserving this custom as well as in reducing the HIV infection rates in the province.
Dube-Ncube believes that thanks to Uwaluko, the death of initiates in initiation schools in KZN will soon be a thing of the past. She was speaking in Kokstad in the Harry Gwala District where she accompanied His Majesty the King Goodwill Zwelithini in welcoming more than 300 initiates who were returning from the Ulwaluko ceremony. Dube-Ncube has appealed to parents to ensure that their children attend reputable initiation schools and join hands with the government in rooting out bogus traditional surgeons who have hijacked the custom to make money.
“There is nothing more disturbing than hearing about young men dying needlessly. Remember they are the future of this country and as parents and government it is our responsibility to protect them. From now on we will have to ensure that this custom is practised in a formalised setting. Today I am very happy to see these young men healthy and we can all see that they are proud to have attended this initiation school,” said Dube-Ncube.
The young men who took part in the latest ceremony appeared to be healthy, even though many of them had previously been taking drugs, drinking alcohol and smoking. They have now vowed to never again allow social ills to take over their lives.
His Majesty the King has successfully revived the Ukusokwa custom (male circumcision) in the entire KZN province and last year he launched the Ulwaluko Cultural Ceremony in the Harry Gwala District to put an end to unnecessary deaths of young men from the initiation schools in this part of the province. Kokstad is the only area in KZN where male circumcision is still carried out in the traditional way.
Dube-Ncube has urged all government departments to work together to preserve the age-old tradition that has recently been discredited by numerous deaths of young men. His Majesty the King has echoed Dube-Ncube’s sentiments and thanked the provincial government for its support of the ceremony and called for all government departments and municipalities to continuously work jointly with traditional structures in the community that are responsible for overseeing this custom.
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SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS