Welcome Home Mntanam: Single Mom Rejoices Son’s Homecoming From Initiation School

Welcome Home Mntanam: Single Mom Rejoices Son’s Homecoming From Initiation School

  • A Mzansi mother could not be happier to reunite with her son after five weeks of being in the bush
  • The mom, Nomathemba Nontsele, had finally sent her son to initiation school after two years of waiting for the right time 
  • It was a bittersweet moment for the emotional mom as she let go of her son, Nazo Nontsele, who had been longing to explore his culture as a man

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With nothing to her name but dedication to finally make things happen for her son, Nomathemba hustled hard to take Nazo to initiation school.

A Mzansi mother reunited with her son after five weeks
A single mother was overjoyed by the return of her son from initiation school. Image: @Chuma Nontsele
Source: Original

The mother of two boys, Nomathemba, expressed joy when she realised the worst was over and her son was back home.

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A Xhosa single mom to two boys hustled hard to make her children feel secure in their culture. In the Xhosa culture, a man is identified by first going to initiation school at the age of eighteen or older, depending on the family's circumstances.

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This big journey is where a boy is groomed into a man and taught how to take over the family's traditions and be an honourable man in society. The young boy is guided by his male elders, who have walked the same road.

Mothers are not allowed to see their children until the day they come back home. The men of the family decide the duration of the boy's stay in the bush, and the mother must swallow and digest the information well, whether they decide to stay for two months or more.

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A Mzansi mom celebrated her son's return
An emotional single mom celebrated her son's return from initiation school. Image: @Chuma Nontsele
Source: Original

Mzansi's single mothers work overtime 

Nomathemba, an entrepreneur, sells cold-pressed juices and muffins at Cape Town's busy taxi ranks to make a living for herself and her two boys. Her first son had gone to initiation school almost ten years ago, and the experience of her first rodeo made her worry as she had to hustle hard on her own once again.

Briefly News sat down with the hardworking mother to better understand her role in sending her sons to initiation school:

"This is one of the hardest things to do as a single parent. I will not lie; I could have used some help from my sons' father, but unfortunately, it was not in the cards for me. My first son is street savvy, and I knew he would handle being in the bush alone, but it was tough to let go of my last-born son.

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"He is my baby, but I knew that this was something that he wanted, so I had to make it happen for him because nobody else would come through for us."

Nomathemba highlighted that she had to borrow money and participate in monthly stokvels to afford all her son's essentials on his big journey to manhood.

"I spent more than R50 000 on the entire thing. I do not regret it one bit. It is what any parent would have done for their child. I want the best for my boys."

The single mom mentioned that the hustling did not stop when her son got to the bush because she still needed to cough up money for three meals daily. She would wake up early to advertise her juices at the nearest taxi rank and use whatever she had made by 8:00 a.m. to buy breakfast for her son.

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Nomathemba would then travel to a different taxi rank to sell her products to new customers, where she would make money for lunch and supper. In the back of her mind, an image of her boy reeled from the last time she saw him; that was her daily motivation.

Son comes home after five weeks
The family prepares for the initiate's homecoming after five weeks of being away from home. Image: @Chuma Nontsele
Source: Original

Nazo's homecoming from initiation school

Nomathemba did not sleep a wink the day before her son's homecoming. She woke up early in the morning to prepare her son's last bush breakfast and cleaned the house for the guests. The homecoming is the best part of all the initiation events. It lasts an entire weekend, during which family and friends celebrate the new man's return home.

Nomathemba shared:

"My boy returned home happy and healthy. He is still my little boy and always will be. I am proud of him for enduring and staying strong."

My mother is my rock

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Nazo, the new man, praised his mother's admirable work for making his journey successful. He also shared the experience of staying five weeks away from home with Briefly News:

"Being in the bush was like being in a different world. I've experienced many things that can never be the same as the outside world. My first week there was hell. I had some regrets about going there, but as days went by, I realised that in order for me to survive there, I needed to be strong and active. 
"I then got used to being in the bush after my first week of being stuck in one place where I could not even get out of bed and not being able to eat everything, but then I survived. Things changed when I was able to go outside and meet other initiates. Things were starting to be like the outside world but slightly different. "

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The new man hopes to positively explore his manhood and power at home and in society. Nazo is excited to be recognised as a faithful man who stands for what is right:

"According to what I have learned and from my own opinion, to be a man means one is seen as admirable through their actions, the ability to guide others and never to doubt your power; it is not only by going to initiation school."

Cases Filed Against Bogus Initiation School Leaders

Briefly News also reported that North West officials have shut down 17 initiation schools and rescued over 100 initiates from the establishments. A multi-disciplinary operation that inspected the schools found irregularities with the facilities and practitioners’ credentials.

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Source: Briefly News

Chuma Nontsele avatar

Chuma Nontsele (Editor) Chuma Nontsele is a human interest journalist for Briefly News. Nontsele holds a diploma in journalism and started her career working at Daily Maverick as a news reporter. Later, she ventured into lifestyle. You can reach her at: chuma.nontsele@briefly.co.za