There were three deaths reported as over 68 326 boys and girls graduated after the Limpopo initiation period came to an end.

The Province hosted a total of 587 legal male and female initiation schools. 93 less than the 680 schools of the year 2022. The province equally witnessed a decrease in the total initiates from 79 529 last year to 68 329 this year.

Most of the initiation schools in Limpopo ended the initiation period this past weekend. Unfortunately, a 44-year-old male initiate died in the Thohoyandou area. One initiate died in Tafelkop in the Sekhukhune area and the other at Zebediela in the Capricorn district.

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Some initiates were welcomed back by MEC for COGHSTA Basikopo Makamu at Ha-Mashamba village, outside Louis Trichardt on Saturday. Despite the decrease in the number of deaths of initiates between 2022 and this year from four to three deaths, MEC Makamu says while the improvement is recognized, the loss of one life is one too many.

Over 68 000 initiates as Limpopo’s initiation period concludes
Girls graduated from Limpopo initiation school

“Our hearts break at these numbers. As we mourn, we want to remind parents of initiates to adhere to the law that governs schools,” said MEC Makamu

“In two cases this year, children passed away due to parents forgetting to provide vital information and medication for the medical conditions of their children,” he revealed.

Compared to the 2022 initiation season there was the closure of four schools out of 44. Cases have now been opened on 14 of these.


“The sustained dedication our people show to this traditional rite of passage. That has been practised in our continent for centuries continues to fuel our efforts to ensure that it not only is kept alive for them. But that it is done safely within the confines of the law.”

Limpopo COGHSTA MEC Basikopo Makamu on Thursday, 15 June held a press briefing in Polokwane to update the province’s readiness for the initiation school season.

Makamu was joined by the Chairperson of the Limpopo Provincial Initiation Coordinating Committee [PICC] and also Advocate Tshwane of Limpopo NPA.

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The Limpopo initiation season begins on Friday, 16 June to end on 15 July. The number of initiation school applications received in the province has declined to a total of 644. This is compared to last year’s 680. A total 587 have been approved, 328 of which are male and 259 are female initiation schools.

“We have stressed and will continue to emphasize the terms of Section 2 (1) of the Northern Province Circumcision Schools Act No. 6 of 1996. Which also continues to guide the work on initiation schools in our province,” said MEC Makamu.

Limpopo read for the Initiation school season
Limpopo COGHSTA MEC Basikopo Makamu at a media Briefing

The act states that:

  1. No person shall hold an initiation school without a valid permit issued to him/her;
  2. No traditional surgeon or any other person is allowed to perform rituals in an initiation without a certificate of fitness issued for that purpose by a registered medical practitioner authorized by the Premier or authorized officer to do so in terms of Section 3 (1) of Initiation Regulations of 2003;
  3. No person below the age of twelve can also be admitted to an initiation in terms of Section 7(1) of Initiation Schools Regulations of 2003; and
  4. No person is allowed to abduct another for the purpose of taking the abducted person to an initiation in terms of Section 9(1) of the Initiation Schools Regulations of 2003.


Sekhukhune District
The district again has the highest number of applications at a total of 326. Of this number, only 285 have been approved.

Capricorn District
It is the second district, with a total of 134 applications, with 127 being approved.

Waterberg District
The District had 84 applications, and all 84 were approved.

Mopani District
A total of 60 applications were received, and 51 were approved.

Vhembe District
40 applications were received to hold initiation schools and all of them were also approved.

The Department of Co-operative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs in Limpopo has issued a warning against scammers impersonating as MEC Basikopo Makamu. 

It is alleged that there is a scammer around the Greater Giyani Local Municipality by pretending to be MEC Makamu. He has already defrauded unsuspecting victims of large sums of money. His cases have also been reported to SAPS who have instituted an investigation.

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The department issued an official statement on Tuesday, warming traditional leaders and the community as a whole. 

MEC Basikopo Makamu distances himself from fraudulent acts
MEC Basikopo Makamu

MEC Makamu has also distanced himself from the fraudulent acts

“I want to encourage our people, particularly those in our traditional communities, to take heed of this warning and not fall victim to these criminals.


“I distance myself and the COGHSTA Department from these fraudulent acts, support our law enforcement authorities towards bringing these criminals to book,” said the MEC.

The department added that all complaints referred to the Office of the MEC will be referred to SAPS.