Initiation season cancelled in South Africa

The Council of Traditional Leaders of South Africa has cancelled this year’s winter initiation season over fears about the potential for COVID-19 to spread quickly among initiates, HeraldLIVE reports. The institutions’ national executive committee unanimously agreed on the cancellation after consulting with the leaders of the cultural committees that practice the customary rite of passage in South Africa’s nine provinces. A spokesperson for Eastern Cape Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs is quoted as saying that anyone operating an initiation school during the winter season will be prosecuted under the regulations governing COVID-19 as well as the Customary Male Initiation Practice Act. No decision has yet been made about whether initiation ceremonies will be permitted later in the year (HeraldLIVE, 18 May 2020).