This ritual is traditionally intended as a teaching institution, to prepare young males for the responsibilities of manhood. Lebollo does not give one the right to go into the community and terrorise them, to aimlessly stab people or burn someone’s house to the ground leaving them with nothing but the clothes on their backs. This is pure thuggery and gangsterism and the law should deal harshly with those involved.
The idea of being in a gang might seem pretty cool to these boys; sometimes they think that they will become popular for committing these horrendous acts but only the opposite happens as their lives are destroyed and they end behind bars. Tradition demands that we call them men, but to me they are only boys as their acts prove. These boys go through the process of initiation only for their pure evil ideas and to terrorise the community in gangs. The gang members work together to intimidate the public and do crime. They may tell themselves that that they join a gang because it’s cool and exciting. They’ll probably tell some that it will get them noticed and that they’ll be able to make some money and be respected and feared.
What they don’t tell is that the stuff that they do is illegal and dangerous and can get one into trouble, arrested, hurt and maybe even killed. Is that cool? To all the young people that have decided to go through the initiation ritual these holidays I would like to say that they should not do it to become members of a gang but for good reasons. Joining a gang isn’t about being in a neat little group that will reward you with popularity, being in a gang is not about having fun.
Being in a gang is not safe. If you do decide to hang with members of a gang then you can pretty much guarantee that you’re getting yourself into trouble and putting yourself and other people in danger. The scenes that unfolded in Bophelong were horrific. Going to the mountain (initiation schools) should be about pride and preserving tradition and not this nonsense!