Three initiates were allegedly shot and killed at an initiation school in Tsomo in the Eastern Cape.

A group of boys who were delivering food to the initiates found the bodies and alerted the elders of Jojweni village on Saturday, January 2, according to SABC News.

The motive for the murders is still unknown, according to spokesperson for the Department of Traditional Affairs, Mamnkeli Ngam.

“Two of them are 20-years-old and one is 19-years. At the moment the police are still investigating the reasons for this gruesome murder of initiates, and the provincial commissioner has instituted a task team to report to her within 72-hours with a view of trying to unearth the reasons for this gruesome murder.”

“The MEC of the Department Xolile Nqata has sent messages of condolences to the bereaved families and has encouraged communities to be vigilant and ensure the safety of initiate all the time,” said Ngam.

The number of initiates who have died in the summer season now stands at 10.

President Cyril Ramaphosa declared the summer initiation season as open on Thursday, December 17, when the country was operating under the regulations imposed by lockdown Alert Level 1.

However, following the president’s last national address where he moved the country to an adjusted Alert Level 3 lockdown, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, said that the coming of age ritual was banned once again on December 29.

Dlamini Zuma indicated that no new initiates would be allowed to enter initiation schools, which would have to close under the more stringent lockdown measures, and that those already in the process of undergoing initiation would be allowed to complete the ritual.

The minister stressed that all ceremonial celebrations associated with the completion of the ritual are prohibited.

Picture: Wikimedia Commons

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