GRAAFF-REINET NEWS - President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced that all cultural activities, including rites of passages and other customary activities, are suspended due to the scourge of the third wave of the coronavirus in the country.
The Sarah Baartman district is also feeling the heat as the numbers are gradually increasing with the daily infection rate standing at 248 by the time of going to press, with Umasizakhe being one of the hotspots in the district.
This has urged the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders (ECHTL) to encourage people to comply with all regulations as promulgated in the adjusted level lockdown regulations.
The Disaster Management Act requires that all social gatherings, weddings, parties, traditional ceremonies and initiation schools should be suspended with immediate effect. This means that such events are not allowed to take place as social distancing, wearing of masks and sanitizing becomes almost impossible and unmanageable.
King Zolile Solwandle, an ECHTL representative in the Sarah Baartman District, urged people not to send their children to the mountain until further announcements are made.
"The third wave is upon us and we cannot afford to lose lives. Those that have already sent their children, please be extra vigilant and remember not to host welcoming parties (Imigidi) as these are not allowed and will place people's lives in danger," he said.
In African culture, winter is regarded as the initiation season. This old age old tradition sees young boys graduating to manhood and is celebrated in African custom by the slaughtering of livestock and feasting on home-made brew.
This practice has been badly affected by the pandemic since arriving on our shores mid-March last year and no initiation ceremonies were conducted in Umasizakhe for almost one year and four months.
The community only has five initiation huts for this season and all these were organized before the current lockdown level pronouncement by the president. Community members have promised to comply with level 4 regulations as proclaimed by the cabinet and the National Corona Virus Advisory Council and will ensure that no Covid-related incidents occur due to non-compliance to regulations.
Local traditional surgeon Karel Draghoender said, "We must work together to fight this disease as it's killing people. We will not perform operations for now until everything is allowed again because this is a matter of life and death."
Until the Government vaccination program is accelerated and herd immunity is achieved, it is everyone's responsibility to curb the curve by following three simple steps: masking up, avoiding social gatherings and maintaining social distance in crowded public places.
'We bring you the latest Graaff-Reinet, Karoo news'