40 young men died during December 2015, after undergoing ritual circumcision in the Eastern Cape, and there were deaths in other provinces too.
Unsafe medical practices and issues of dehydration are the biggest factors leading to these deaths and it continues to be a mammoth task for government to stem.
The procedures, which prohibit the involvement of women in all processes, are often shrouded in secrecy and take place in remote areas with no interaction with the outside world.
702/Cape Talk's Redi Tlhabi spoke to Mayenzeke Baza and Deputy Minister Obed Bapela, regarding the challenges surrounding the issue.
Listen to the conversation below:
Baza is a documentary film-maker, who uses his craft to advocate for safe medical practices and prevent deaths.
Until we acknowledge the issues that causes all the deaths and illegal schools, then we are not going to make any progress... There shouldn't be a single death.— Mayenzeke Baza, film-maker and former initiate
Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Obed Bapela, said illegal initiation schools thrive due to inadequate legislation.
10 to 15 illegal initiation schools have been shit down, but government says unfortunately, new ones spring up quickly.
These illegal school's bad practices place initiates lives in jeopardy. He says legislation is currently underway to be presented before Parliament and Cabinet to stem the scourge.
They do it far away where they can't be seen because they are illegal... We've shut down the one's we know of, we save the boys.— Obed Bapela, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs