Must Mayor Athol Trollip Now Attend Initiation School?


He’s Nelson Mandela Bay Metro’s mayor. That means it’s his business to ensure that unnecessary deaths are prevented in the Metro.

When such death occurs, it’s his mandate to ascertain why it happened and take necessary precaution to avoid further loss of life.

Luphelo Madela (19) reportedly died of drug overdose at an initiation school in KwaNobuhle, before he was due to graduate.

As such, Mayor Athol Trollip, his deputy, Mongameli Bobani, and some chiefs visited initiation schools in Uitenhage and Motherwell where he addressed initiates.

Essentially, Trollip’s visit was to inspect the conditions of the schools following Madela’s death.

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However, the Mayor’s visit to the initiation schools have provoked an outcry. Apparently, Trollip isn’t “man-enough” to do what he did.

Reports have it that the head of the portfolio committee on health in Bhisho, Mxolisi Dimbaza rebuked Trollip’s visit arguing that the Xhosa custom didn’t permit people like him to visit an initiation school or address the initiates.

To Dimbaza, only those who went through the traditional rite of passage into manhood have the right to do what the Mayor did.

” If Trollip has never gone to an initiation school like ourselves, he cannot go there and address abakhwetha (initiates) because he does not know anything that happens there.”

He inferred that the Mayor is a boy and that it’s not right for him to address men.

“…Our own traditions and culture” he said, “is that the person who gets to emabhomeni (initiation schools) is a person who is a man. The other person who can go emabhomeni is inqalathi (a boy) and therefore inqalathi can never address men or abakhwetha.

“It’s just the same thing with me, I cannot go to the initiation school of the Sotho people because I have to respect their culture even though I a man according to my culture. It is something that can never be accepted,” Dimbaza added.

Nonetheless, Dimbaza stressed that the disapproval of Trollip’s visit to the initiation has noting to do with him being white.

“It is not because he is white. It is simply because he has not undergone traditional circumcision the same way that we have undergone it. And also he cannot address those particular initiates,” he uttered.

Meanwhile, Mninawa Nyusile the head of cooperative governance and traditional affairs portfolio committee, has indicated that the traditional leader who approved Trollip’s visit to the initiation school will be punished.

Nyusile will be asking the chairperson of the Eastern Cape house of traditional leaders, Nkosi Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, and the MEC, Fikile Xasa to see to that.

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“…This is a problem and it undermines our culture,” started Nyusile. “For Trollip to go there and speak in front of cameras and say he never went through the rite and did male medical circumcision is wrong.

“What advice would he give? What experience does he have? Even if he is a mayor he can’t go to our boys there for something he doesn’t know…

“For him to be mayor does not mean he would have breakthrough to all issues of traditions and customs where he never performed such,” he finished.