July 17, 2014
‘Initiation school teachers stole my pigs’by Montsho Matlala
A subsistence pig farmer yesterday decried the police’s failure to make an arrest after 20 of his pigs were allegedly stolen by a group of people from a local cultural initiation camp in Jane Furse, Limpopo.
Mafole Machika, 57, told The New Age yesterday that cultural initiation camp teachers from Ga-Phaahla village stole his pigs on May 23.
“The mob – armed with sticks, knobkerries, axes and pangas – stormed my yard undressed to their waists,” he said. “They took my 20 pigs while shouting that I was a worthless man who had not been culturally circumcised.”
Machika said the young men also swore at him in front of his grandchildren.
“And the police officers in Nebo were disgusting,” he said.
“The station commander told me that it was the traditional law of the land that I be treated that way because I was leshoboro (uncircumcised). Even now nobody has been arrested and my pigs are gone.”
Machika also claimed the two senior police officers who ridiculed him were friends of the local traditional leader.
“All I want is justice. Every year during cultural initiation rituals, gangs of boys and men insult me about my private parts.
“Three years ago I even sent my two sons to the cultural initiation school and they have graduated,” the pig farmer said.
“My sin is that I didn’t go to the mountains? But why are so many men in the village who did not go there not harassed?”
Provincial police spokesperson Col Ronel Otto confirmed the incident. “At this stage, I still have to find out more details and I will make a comment soon,” Otto said.
House of Traditional Leaders chairperson Kgosi Malesela Dikgale has condemned the incident and called on traditional leaders to help victims of harassment by cultural initiation school “fanatics”.
“Any form of harassment is not a part of our culture. Some of the pillars of cultural initiation is respect for everyone and integrity,” Dikgale said.