Contralesa, health dept discuss COVID measures as winter initiation season nears

With fears of a possible third wave looming, Contralesa's Mathupha Kgosi Mokoena said the slow rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine could also put the cultural circumcision ceremonies on hold.

FILE: A picture taken on 20 November 2009 of young boys from the Xhosa tribe attending a traditional initiation school in Libode in the Eastern Cape Province. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – The Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) has said they are in talks with the health department to plan for the start of the winter initiation season.

South Africa's initiation season falls during the June and December period.

However, Contralesa's president Kgosi Mathupha Mokoena said there were still numerous challenges regarding compliance to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, that may warrant the suspension of the cultural rite of passage.

With fears of a possible third wave looming Kgosi Mokoena said the slow rollout of the vaccine could also put the cultural circumcision ceremonies on hold.

“Our worry as Contralesa is that the vaccination that we expected would be rolled out immediately is not coming. We thought that if it was to be rolled out as quickly as possible, even our initiates can benefit from that. But, we are engaging the department to check whether we will be ready to have initiation school this winter.”

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.