Male initiations

What is male initiation?

  • Male initiation in South Africa refers to a cultural practice that marks the transformation of young men to adulthood.
  • The cultural practice of male initiation involves circumcision.
  • Male initiation prepares young men to be responsible men in society.

What should you know about male initiation?

  • You should be healthy and fit before undergoing the cultural practice of male initiation.
  • All young male initiates must consult their local healthcare centre  beforehand.
  • All initiates should involve their elders before undergoing the cultural practice of initiation.
  • Initiation schools that meet all the requirements of health and safety must be registered with the relevant authorities.

What is your rights and your responsibilities regarding male initiation?

It is your right to:

  • receive health education, good quality healthcare and counselling
  • adequate supervision by an adult or care-giver you trust
  • an approved traditional surgeon/ healthcare practitioner to perform the circumcision
  • clean hygienic equipment
  • demand the registration certificate of a prospective initiation school.   

It is your responsibility to:

  • communicate any problems you may have to your parents, car- egiver, healthcare worker, social worker, friend, etc.
  • report any illegal or unregistered initiation school to your nearest police station.

Where can I find a registered initiation school?

  • Enquire and consult relevant authorities within your province as specified by your province’s Department of Traditional Affairs or Health.

What are the alternatives to initiation schools?

  • Medical male circumcision is available at many public and private healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics and mobile units.

What are the benefits of being circumcised?

  • Reduces your risk of HIV infection.
  • Reduces the risk of sexually transmitted infections.
  • Improves hygiene.