July 5, 2012
Beatings, death of initiates baffle heartbroken parentsBy Neo Mvubu
“Sorry for going without saying goodbye. Mama I love you.” These were the words of Mthandazo Kuzwayo, 19, as he defied his mother to go to be circumcised in the mountains against her wishes.
Kuzwayo is one of four boys who died at the initiation school in Botshabelo, Free State.
The boy left a note to his mother and went to one of the initiation schools in Botshabelo. All four boys died in the same month.
According to police spokesperson Const Consolation Mokoale, the boys were allegedly beaten and left to die by their initiation nurses on the mountain.
Four men who were arrested for the killings appeared in the Botshabelo Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday on charges of murder.
According to Mokoale, the police received information that one boy was taken to Botshabelo hospital, where he died. “We then followed up on the information and went to the school where two more boys were found dead in an open field in the mountains.”
She said that 30 boys were found at the school and 11 of them taken to hospital with serious injuries.
“The boys buttocks were allegedly burned with hot irons and they were assaulted by their teachers if they did not do as instructed,”said Mokoale.
The initiation school was not registered.
Mthandazo’s mother, Ruth, did not want him going to the initiation school, especially after her neighbour’s son died in the mountains recently.
“I did not want him to go to the mountains, we even took him to the medical doctor to get him circumcised hoping he would reject the idea of going to the mountain,” she said.
Kuzwayo said his friends were teasing him, saying “he was not a man because he had not gone to the mountain”, said Ruth Kuzwayo.
“One of the boys he was with said Mthandazo was struggling to breathe but the teacher said they must leave him alone and continue singing,” said the mother.
Another initiate, Morena Potsane, 17, also died at the initiation school. ...
According to Ngotshane, the family received no explanation about his death and were on their way to the mortuary to identify the body.