Role of Site Committee

In an interview with the Deputy Chair of the Langa Initiation Site Committee, it was found that major roles of the committee are to create awareness in the community about the initiation seasons and to tell prospective initiates what they need to do to be initiated.  Each season, an advertisement is placed in the local newspaper to spread news of the upcoming initiation season to the families of eligible boys.  A meeting is then held where the necessary preparation that must take place before the initiation can proceed is presented.  During this meeting, the committee often recommends ikhankathas (guardian and traditional nurse) to the community.

Site Comittee

The site committee is developing a set of rules and regulations that will be enforced collectively by the site manager, ikhankathas, and ingcibis. The draft of the rules is as follows:

  1. Site to be declared a gun fee zone
  2. Excessive liquor not allowed.  The standard with reference to quantity should be set, as is normally required by custom, not by the financial muscle of the family
  3. No stokvel[1]
  4. Branches of Port Jackson trees should not be cut at the site for the erection of ibhoma (hut).  Existing trees must be retained.  Bring your own branches
  5. Dumping / vandalism prohibited at the site
  6. Control of access to the site, young men’s conduct should be assessed.  Site should be treated as a formal school
  7. Optimal hygienic standards covering every aspect of the initiation process should be promoted for health reasons, i.e. the site itself and amakhonkata (traditional nurses) should be clean at all times
  8. Entrance to the site by gate or gates only.  Entrance of cars to be limited
  9. When the ibhoma is set alight at the end of the initiation process, that particular family is responsible for any damage that may be caused by the fire if not monitored by them.  Supervision is very important
  10. The site is reserved for initiation purposes only
  11. It is compulsory that a member of the initiate’s family be on site to monitor the process and sleep at the site for the first 8 days
  12. Initiation season must be from:
    • November – January
    • April – June
  13. Only one half of the site must be used per season:
    • Power Station Section
    • N2 gateway
  14. Amabhoma” initiates huts should not be erected close to each other
  15. Ikhankatha”, traditional nurses should supervise the use of water taps and showers
  16. A fee is to be paid into an account (an estimate of R100 per month) in advance by the initiate’s families to defray costs, water, etc[2]
  17. Plots for the erection of initiate’s huts should only be chosen by the families on submission of doctors certificates (Authentic)
  18. Traditional surgeons and nurses who do not attend committee and general meetings convened by the initiation committee and who are not on the database should not be allowed to perform their duties
  19. Traditional surgeons should not perform procedure without receiving a doctor’s certificate from the committee
  20. Committee needs to seek legal advice with regards to sanctions to be noted on violation of the rules
  21. Community to endorse and own the rules and regulations

These rules and regulations have been adapted to deal with changes within the community and to make the initiation ritual on site increasingly safer.  Recently, some male family members have stayed on site, as is suggested by rule 11, to oversee the behaviour of the boy, and to ensure that he is not taking part in inappropriate practices such as drinking or smoking compulsively.  The site committee’s development and enforcement of these rules will help to continue the Langa site’s success.

[1] Stokvel: Celebrations at the conclusion of initiation.

[2] The Langa site managers stated that no compulsory costs are placed upon the initiates and that the site is free to use for all members of the community. This cost may soon be required for site use.