His Majesty the King of the Zulu nation Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhezukulu has called for an end to gender-based violence. The King’s appeal came today during the uLwaluko Homecoming Ceremony which was held in Kokstad in the Harry Gwala district municipality.

This year’s edition of the ceremony welcomed back 280 young men who have successfully undergone the practice of ukusoka. It celebrates their safe return from the six initiation traditional schools around the Greater Kokstad area. The ceremony was attended by KZN MECs for; Cogta Sipho Hlomuka, Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza and Arts, Culture, Sports and Recreation MEC Hlengiwe Mavimbela.

His Majesty’s call comes at a time when the country and province have experienced several incidents of gender-based violence.

Speaking at the ceremony, the King has also urged the government to ensure that indigenous knowledge is used in conjunction with the best of Western medical practices to ensure that the fight against the spread of the HIV/Aids is ultimately successful.

In 2009 the King revived the tradition of ukusoka (circumcision) which was backed enthusiastically by the KZN Provincial Government. Since then over a million men in the province have been circumcised

“Since the inception of this programme which I revived, our province has not had a single incident where a young man has lost his life because of ukusoka” added his Majesty.

The King also thanked the Indlondlo Organising Committee, for the great work they continue to do in ensuring that young men that are undergoing Ukusoka in Greater Kokstad do it safely.

Speaking at the ceremony, MEC Hlomuka echoed his Majesty’s call for men to play their part in the fight against the abuse of women and children. Hlomuka also thanked the King for his visionary leadership in reviving the practice of Ukusoka which is also being championed by the Provincial Government. “As the Provincial Government, we are happy to see young men in Kokstad and all surrounding areas undergoing the practice of traditional circumcision in safe and hygienic environments. We are also happy to see that these men are being taught about the responsibility men have in building our communities” said Hlomuka.

“What we have witnessed today is also a reminder of the important role that the institution of traditional leadership continues to have in creating social cohesion within our communities. When these young men are in the mountain, they are taught to stay away from social ills such as drugs and alcohol abuse, through this we are ensuring that our young men are better prepared to face life’s challenges” added Hlomuka.

One of the initiates Vuyolwethu Tubane called the process that he and his fellow initiates have gone through a life-changing experience. “The process we have undergone through the uLwaluko ritual has been educational and has prepared us to be men who will play a meaningful role in our communities. At the mountain, we were taught what manhood is and the responsibility we have in fighting against social ills that continue our communities which include the abuse of women and children” added Tubane.