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Phaahla royal house excited over 'successful' initiation of 400 girls

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.

Initiates shortly after arriving at the Phaahla royal house in Sekhukhune district. Picture: Supplied

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.

Young girls from the 12 years with thier traditional attires on during thier welcoming ceremony: Picture Supplied

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.”


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