Cape Town – A portion of Table Mountain national park should be made available for boys undergoing traditional initiation as there is a shortage of suitable land in the Western Cape, the provincial ANC Youth League said on Thursday.
“Table Mountain as a national heritage site is actually suitable as a delivery site to host initiates, thereby allowing them the necessary privacy as the inherent requirement for the initiates,” said youth league spokesperson Siyabulela Tom.
“It is far from communities and is a mountainous area with enough space to accommodate initiates from all over the province.”
Currently, the league believed a tradition of purity for the passage of initiates from one stage of their life to the next was not being properly honoured because of the space shortage.
Tom said initiation schools took place in every available pocket of land, often near train stations and highways.
He called on traditional and religious leaders, parents and other parties to rally behind the youth league in its call, as initiation was a central and important African tradition.
“The government should therefore walk the talk and treat everyone in the province equally and accord this tradition the necessary respect it deserves within our multi-cultural society.”
Table Mountain spokesperson Merle Collins told News24 on Thursday that it was difficult to respond because they had not received any formal requests.
“This is new for us and we will have to investigate the feasibility.”
The protected park land covers around 220 square kilometres in Cape Town and is home to rare Fynbos vegetation and international tourist landmarks, Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope.
Collins said a wide variety of stakeholders would have to be consulted. The conservational mandate also had to be kept in mind.
“There are impacts on the environment and we can’t ascertain that at all because we don’t know how many people and what is being requested.”
Jenna Etheridge, News24