Traditional leaders have launched the initiation season in Queenstown with a plea to ensure the health and safety of young men.

The launch saw City Press partner with local leaders to reduce the number of young men who die in the province in illegal initiation schools, and the number of men who are maimed for life.

Cooperative Governance MEC Fikile Xasa called on everyone involved in the tradition to take responsibility - especially traditional leaders, who are the custodians of the rite.

"I am going to write a letter to all the traditional leaders, including ward councillors in urban areas where there are no chiefs, to ask them to sign a pledge that in their areas no initiate will die," Xasa said.

Nkosi Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, chairperson of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders, said parents should ensure that when they choose traditional nurses [amakhankatha], they should be older, experienced men who are able to impart knowledge and wisdom to initiates about the responsibilities of men in society.


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