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Mom Only Wanted Boy (8) Who Died At Initiation School To Fit In

Mom Only Wanted Boy (8) Who Died At Initiation School To Fit In.. ‘When you have not been there, the other boys make fun of you’

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Mom Only Wanted Boy (8) Who Died At Initiation In School To Fit In

The mother of an eight-year-old boy who died at an initiation school in Ga-Modjadji, Limpopo, says she sent him there so he can fit in with other children.

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Thabo Sedutla was buried on Sunday in Makhurupetji village. His death put a damper on the province’s mission to have a zero-death initiation season for 2022.

His mother Unice Sedutla, 36, said she wanted Thabo to feel accepted and have a sense of belonging among his peers by following rites of passage that span generations in the area.

“When you have not been to initiation school, the other boys make fun of you. I thought it would be a good thing for him to go with his older brother and be like other boys,” Sedutla said.

Sedutla, who cried as she spoke, was sitting inside a dimly lit rondavel, covered with blankets and surrounded by a few relatives.

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Sedutla also claimed that Thabo was not sick on the day that he went to the school as was previously reported.

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“Thabo was happy and looking forward to the experience. I just wish the owner of the school would have taken him to the hospital sooner.

“My son would have survived,” she said, adding that she was not aware that the legal admission age was 12.

Some community members walked up the meandering path on the hill to the Sedutla home while carrying bags of mealie meal.

Residents seemed to have different ideas on the age of admission for initiation.

Johannes Malesa said some boys ran off to initiation schools without telling their parents.

“So, it’s better to take your child there yourself because even if they go there without your permission, you have to pay the R2,500 fee,” he said.

Mdalalo Sekgotha said she was looking forward to welcoming her eight-year-old grandson when he returns from the initiation school.

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Sekgotha said the family planned to slaughter a few chickens to celebrate the boy’s coming of age.

A resident, who asked not to be named, said she refused to take her nephews who are both eight years old to the initiation school.

“I told the family that we should wait until they are 10 years old,” the woman said.

Cooperative governance, human settlements, and traditional affairs MEC Basikopo Makamu visited the Sedutla family on Saturday after conducting oversight visits to initiation schools.

“Parents are the ones who are pushing to get their children admitted. My call to the entire province is that parents must stop pushing our senior traditional leaders or traditional surgeons to admit under age because if something happens I will only be dealing with non-compliance,” he said.

Makamu also said his department planned to close down 29 illegal schools that were discovered in the Sekhukhune district.

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Makamu said the initiation school where Thabo died had not been completely shut down in order to allow boys who are already there to complete the process while the situation was being closely monitored.

Health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba said she was concerned that the school had agreed to admit a child who is underage.

Ramathuba said the postmortem showed that Thabo did not die from natural causes.

Ramathuba declined to give further details due to the police investigation, but said it was important to make sure surgeons were skilled.

Provincial police spokesperson Lt-Col Mamphaswa Seabi said they were waiting for the docket from the director of public prosecutions on Thabo’s case.

Seabi said that information would determine who should be charged.

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