By Cwenga Maqhubela
Photo by: Johnnie Issac
On a normal year with normal events, this time of the year initiation schools from across the country were expected to be fully operating. Celebrations when the initiates come back from these schools would have been underway as we speak, but the unfortunate circumstances of Covid-19 halted all of that.
On the 27th of December 2020, the President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa announced the immediate implication of alert level 3 of the lockdown after the numbers of infections of Covid-19 had rapidly increasing in the past 3 days. This means under alert level 3 there are no initiation schools that are expected to be operating at this time.
Photo by: Carl Collison
What will happen to initiates now?
Ministers in the National Command Council gave a media briefing on the 28th of December specifying on what the president had announced the night before. Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma specified that no more initiates will be allowed to go to initiation schools as they are now prohibited. Initiation schools were recently given the go ahead under alert level 1 in the Eastern Cape except for the Nelson Mandela Bay and the Sarah Baartman district as they were identified as Covid-19 hot spots.
There were initiates that were already in these schools before the president made the announcement, what does this mean to them? Minister Dlamini Zuma stated that “all those initiates that are already in the initiation schools will be allowed to complete their initiation but no new intakes will be allowed.” All the celebrations that usually take place after the initiate has returned home ‘imigidi’ are prohibited. This decision was taken with the understanding that these celebrations can be done later. If any family fails to comply with these regulations, they will be subjected to punishment by the relevant authorities.