Malawi Chiefs Ban Initiation Ceremonies

By Loness Gwazanga

Blantyre, August 21, Mana: Some chiefs in Blantyre have banned initiation ceremonies, a traditional cultural practice that marks a child’s entry into adulthood as a way of preventing further spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Group Village Head Kamtukule under Senior Chief Somba issued the ban on Thursday during a Jhipiego-supported community engagement meeting in Blantyre which attracted faith and market leaders as well as chiefs.

Kamtukule said at the rate the global pandemic was spreading, serious measures needed to be put in place, especially in communities where people were taking Covid-19 messages for granted in an attempt to contain the disease.

“I called my subordinates and told them they should not entertain anyone that wants to hold initiation ceremonies because the disease is fast spreading and we don’t want to take chances. If they do that on their own, they will be forced to pay two goats as a fine,” warned Kamtukule.

On her part, Blantyre District Disease Surveillance Response Officer, Catherine Mwapasa described the development as helpful in the fight against the global disease, saying people normally lose control when they are excited thereby not following precautionary measures.

“Such events are ceremonious and attract big crowds; as such, people cannot observe social distance. We commend the chiefs for taking such a bold step to ensure their subjects are well protected from the disease,” Mwapasa said.

Mwapasa, therefore, appealed to the community leaders in various aspects to also put in place by-laws that would help curb the disease.

Blantyre District Social Welfare Officer, Stephano Joseph, said he was happy with the chiefs’ gesture, noting that it will go a long way in protecting children that were supposed to take part in the initiation ceremony from the pandemic.

“In the process, the right to good health of the children will be protected,” Joseph said.