Readers on social media react to debate over initiation ritual deaths

Readers on social media react to debate over initiation ritual deaths

- recently shared a story about female traditional leaders raising concerns about initiation practices

- This has led to debate among leaders about the ritual

- Readers on social media weighed in on the issue

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Several female leaders had raised concerns about male initiation practices, as 17 young men undergoing initiation had died over the winter seasons.

Readers on social media had a lot to say about the debate.

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One woman, Pinky Maqungu, said that she supported the women and believed that some changes needed to be made to make the ritual safer.

"Being a Xhosa woman myself, who has witnessed the devastating death and loss of manhood of hundreds of teen boys, I fully agree," Pinky said. "This is a sensitive issue I know, particularly to Xhosa men. But, with all due respect, let us be honest about the devastating effect elisiko is having, not only on teenage boys but also on their families."

Taking a similar view, one user, Poorman Batista, said that it was unnecessary to continue to use traditional initiation practices when safer modern options were available. 

"Clinics are offering 100% clean surgery," he posted. "Zero death."

Another user, Aphiwe Bulo, also weighed in, saying, "This sexist nonsense that women are not supposed to interfere with the ritual is what is killing most of these boys."

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Not all were in agreement, however, highlighting how sensitive of a topic this is for many people.

For example, one user wrote say that he was tired of people "interfering in men's issues". Another, Yanga Ntiyo, said if people had concerns about the safety of the initiation schools then they should "start their own schools where they will take their boys and do what they wish to be done."

All in all, it appears the debate is far from over. It remains to be seen what the discussion among the traditional leaders will lead to.

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