The demise of traditional initiation schools of the batswana culture in the North-West Province, South Africa
Motlhankane, Monnapula Joseph
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The study focuses on the demise of Batswana culture in the North West Province, with specific emphasis on the initiation practices. The objective of the study is to examine the causes of the degeneration of Batswana culture. The significance of initiation schools amongst the Tswana youth also forms part of the objectives of the study. The study also aims at determining why some people undergo traditional circumcision despite multiple deaths amongst initiates. The study uses Focus group interviews to collect data from respondents which will then be analysed. It was found that the degeneration of the traditional initiation school is influenced by the Westernization processes such as hospital circumcision amongst others. Additional contributory factors include unqualified traditional surgeons, as well as distortions of information by the media about traditional initiation schools. The problems relating to traditional initiation schools include death due to severe living conditions, the beating of initiates by their guardians, the conditions of traditional initiation schools which compromise some physically weak initiates, the illegal establishment of some initiation schools, and commercialization of some traditional initiation schools. Other problems include the criticism by such Western oriented establishment as churches and the claim that African practices are unscientific. The traditional initiation school was the practice of teaching boys and girls good manners, responsibility and respect to the elders but today it is otherwise; what initiates are taught at initiation school is not what should be displayed by the initiates, for instance initiates disrespect elders. The practice takes place far away in mountains and bushes, but recently some initiation schools are held in the nearby villages, roads even at homes in secret. It has become a tourist attraction, because when the practice is held nearby to villages, initiates steal, and rape the people passing and thus bring the culture down. For the culture of traditional initiation schools to be effective they need to stick to guidelines in the Bill that has been drafted by the committee under the supervision of the Department of Arts & Culture and the House of Traditional Affairs in the provinces. The individuals should be taught the necessity of undergoing traditional initiation school. It must be obligatory for all the Batswana to attend a traditional initiation school and there must be teachers who are responsible for cultural importance as an awareness of the tradition.
- Humanities