By Mankaleme Thema
The royal house of Moshate wa Phaahla Mmankedi in Sekhukhune district says it is grateful for the
safe return of over 400 young girls who went for Sebashe (female initiation school) in September.
Girls from the age of 12 year's and older spend two weeks living next to the river as part of this right of
passage. A big, joyous welcoming event was held on October 8, 2022.The initiator of the Sebashe,
Kgoshi Litsiri Phaahla, said they are extremely excited to have successfully initiated over 400 young
girls and women in this year’s female initiation school "we are extremely excited to have safely initiated these girls and we hope they will be able to use everything they were taught to become responsible women in future", said Phaahla.
They said the safety of their initiates was top priority. “We have our own ways of ensuring a safe return
of our initiates, we conduct traditional rituals that protect the environment where our girls are
initiated, I am also pleased that we did not report any death this year.”
Phaahla said Sebashe plays an important role in the lives of young girls.
“This practice helps prepare these young girls for the next phase of their lives, which is adulthood. These initiation schools also help us as traditional people to communicate with our ancestors and preserve our culture as Bapedi.”
Unlike male initiation schools, which usually take place in winter, Sebashe takes place in summer
and lasts for two weeks.
Phaahla said these young girls undergo training at a river, that’s where they are kept for two weeks and taught everything related to womanhood and the importance of culture.
“At these schools, girls are also taught how to conduct themselves. Self-esteem is very important,
we teach our girls about self-love, self-confidence and to always be proud of where they come
from,” said Phaahla.
One of the initiates, 21-year-old Pleasure Madiatle Sebola, from Ga-Mphahlele agreed that Sebashe
was a big part of promoting confidence and cultural pride.
“We go to the initiation school to uphold the culture and to be taught the cultural practices of Bapedi, the school also helps us to love our bodies and not be ashamed of how we look,” she said.
Maria Kekana a mother to one of the initiates said they are very happy that Covid-19 regulations
have been scrapped and now they can practice their culture.
“It’s been two years without opening Sebashe because of Covid-19, but now that things are back to
normal, we will be able to practice our culture and teach our girls how to be responsible women.”