Shocking increase in South Africa’s deadly initiation schools, 6-year-old dies

South Africa continues to experience a massive number of fatalities during its initiation seasons.

Recently the Limpopo Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs (COGHSTA) closed down some initiation schools in the province and further suspended the traditional caregivers after a death of a minor was reported.

The Limpopo Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements, and Traditional Affairs suspended caregivers and closed down an initiation school under the Modjadji Traditional Community in the Mopani District Municipality following the death of a minor at the school last night.

It was reported that the six-year-old initiate, who had been diagnosed with epilepsy, was admitted to the initiation school with his parent’s consent. Both the parents of the boy and the initiation school have contravened Section 12 (1) of the Limpopo Initiation Schools Act 2016 which states that no person below the age of twelve can be admitted to an initiation school.

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This is a devastating development. We have been, since the beginning of this initiation season, begging for parents to play an active role in adhering to the law that governs initiation schools. We condemn, in the harshest terms, the admitting of children that are underage at initiation schools for this exact reason.

COGHSTA MEC Basikopo Makamu

The MEC warned that this type of action, whether with the blessing of a parent or not, will not be tolerated.

We swiftly moved to close down the initiation school, and immediately suspended the traditional caregivers and surgeons who were operating there. This has unfortunately tarnished our target of – no deaths during this initiation season – but beyond that, we are heartbroken that an innocent life has been unnecessarily cut shot at such a tender age

The matter has been handed over to the Kgapane Police Station for further investigation.

Meanwhile, the mother of the 6-year-old who died at the initiation school claimed he was abducted.

Police and relevant stakeholders in the area visited the family of the minor initiate who died at an initiation school. The mother claimed that the child who is from Makhurupetji village, allegedly lost his life at the initiation school on Tuesday, June 27. The victim was diagnosed with chronic epilepsy.

The mother came out to speak that she never agreed that her child s should undergo the traditional initiation practice because he was underage.

She further said that efforts to free her child from the initiation school were fruitless.