The Initiation Summer Season – when initiates are expected to stay in isolation for an extended period – commenced in Hermanus during the past weekend.
Overstrand Municipality has for many years allowed initiation practices on the municipal farm in the Hemel-en- Aarde Valley. In fact, there are formal agreements in place with the Hermanus Initiation Forum for the use of pockets of land on the aforementioned property.
The Municipality had a number of consultative meetings from 14 November 2022 onwards, which were ongoing and therefore was quite surprised when it became known that initiates had already started arriving during the weekend. It should be noted that OM had not yet been informed of the actual starting date.
However, as the procedures had already started, it would have been insensitive and irresponsible to postpone the start of the initiation school.
After consultations between all role players, it was agreed to proceed, but within specific rules on access, demarcated areas, fire and general behaviour practices of the initiates and their families.
The Overstrand community is culturally diverse, and as a caring government the Council needs to be aware and sensitive to the needs of all people residing here including the adjacent landowners in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley.
For this reason, Overstrand Executive Mayor, Dr Annelie Rabie, has extended an invitation to engage with any interested party on the matter.
The Fire Service Department will be working closely with the Hermanus Initiation Forum to ensure fire safety and compliance.
It is trusted that this season which ends on 31 January 2023, will be a safe one for all concerned.