Initiates’ selfies ‘abomination’

A FLOOD of selfies by young initiates in the Eastern Cape has prompted traditional leaders to call for a ban on cellphones at initiation schools.

Teenagers who have just entered the traditional rite of passage into manhood have been taking selfies and uploading them on social media. Pictures showed initiates sticking their tongues out, one kissing a girl, and a group posing with a woman, who seemed to be a tourist, on a road. Traditional leaders believe the initiates have lost the true meaning of the rite. O R Tambo deputy mayor Thandekile Sabisa, who heads the municipality’s traditional initiation programme, said there was a need to teach young men about the importance of keeping the initiation custom sacred. “The fact that initiates who are meant to be in secluded areas post their photos on the internet shows the extent to which our culture has been lost to our young people.

“This is why we have a programme to teach our young people about . . . this custom.” Western Mpondoland King Ndamase Ndamase’s spokesman, Prince Mlamli Ndamase, called the initiates’ selfie mania an “abomination”. “It is . . . a disgrace. What they are doing in the initiation hut is not supposed to be known by anyone . . . It is wrong and unacceptable. They are breaking the rules of our custom.” Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa (Contralesa) provincial secretary Mkhanyiseli Dudumayo said he was shocked that initiates had access to cellphones while undergoing the ritual. “Anything that is done in the initiation hut cannot be made public. This is a sacred custom.” He said the introduction of technology in the custom had to be discussed and condemned. Zwelithobile Mtirara, who is the chairman of a body of chiefs in King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality, also said traditional leaders needed to ensure that cellphones were banned.