Mbalula's rite of manhood 'highly commended'

The decision of former African National Congress (ANC) Youth League president Fikile Mbalula to undergo circumcision at the age of 37 sets an example to other leaders in a similar situation, a prominent traditional leader said on Thursday.

Mbalula, who is a member of the ANC national executive committee, is currently undergoing the Xhosa rite of manhood at a site on the Cape Flats.

Phathekile Holomisa, who heads the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa, said Mbalula’s decision is to be highly commended.

He said the ritual is normally performed at the age of 18 when a boy begins the advance into maturity and can grasp teachings and words of wisdom imparted to him by elders.

“Mbalula’s deed, however, proves the adage that it is never too late to mend.

“He has set an example to be followed by others holding positions of leadership and authority who may be in a situation similar to his on the eve of his initiation,” Holomisa said.

With freedom having been achieved in South Africa, its people no longer have an excuse to justify the abandonment of value systems.

He said many of those involved in the liberation struggle were forced into the underground, into exile and jail. They were thus denied the opportunity to go through “the normal stages attendant to the growth of youngsters” in accordance with their cultures.

He said the amaMpondomise, Mbalula’s clan, have to ensure that Mbalula’s passage into manhood is smooth.

“This, his latest act of courage must instil pride in more of the youth of our troubled times,” he said.—Sapa

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