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'Deaths of 18 boys in initiation schools unnecessary and regrettable'

In the Eastern Cape, most of the deaths have been attributed to dehydration due to the heat.

FILE: A picture of young boys from the Xhosa tribe attending a traditional initiation school in Libode in the Eastern Cape province. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN – The Eastern Cape Traditional Affairs Department says the fact that many initiates lost their lives in the province is unnecessary and regrettable.

At least 23 young men have lost their lives while going through the rite of passage into manhood with 18 of them coming from the Eastern Cape.

Four deaths were reported in the Western Cape.

In the Eastern Cape, most of the deaths have been attributed to dehydration due to the heat.

Eastern Cape traditional affairs spokesperson Mamnkeli Ngam says, “Unfortunately it’s sad to report that throughout this summer initiation season we’ve lost 18 boys and it’s a loss that’s unnecessary and is regrettable and as the department we’d like to send our condolences to the bereaved families.”

Ngam says the season is now drawing to a close.

“As you’ll understand that from this week, and weekend, a number of boys have been reunited with their families, and as a results us at the department we’ll also be scaling down our monitoring activities.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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