Latin: /'vɒks pɒpjʉliː/ VOICE OF THE PEOPLE

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Monday, August 23, 2010

"Initiation": right or rite? by Ryan Venter

A rite of passage is defined as the transition from one social status into another through the performance, celebration and acknowledgment of symbolic actions or rituals.

Implementation and completion of rites of passage play an integral part in the development of an individual's growth as a person, regardless of religion, nationality, race or gender.

There are many rites of passage that are acknowledged and celebrated in society, such as one's bachelor party or bridal shower; coming of age or graduation, however, there are also those rites of passage that may have a significant influence on one's integration into a new status: such as initiation, that are neglected.

Many institutions, due to isolated, negative results and conflicting opinions, choose to ban initiation as a rite of passage from primary to high school.

Unfortunately, the minority of substantiated negative outcomes plague this rites' condemned reputation, such as the tragic story of the 14 year-old, Michael Velem, who drowned during his initiation at Wynberg Boys High School and Paarl schoolboy, Marnus Theron (14),who found himself in hospital due to severe food poisoning. Are these incidents a consequence of initiation or the product of a deplorable monitoring system?

The sporadic occurrences of shark attacks make head-line news; by applying a similar approach one should ban all activities in waters where sharks may swim. Yet no such ban exists. Clearly risk in itself cannot be the sole justification for a ban.

The plethora of benefits of the rite of passage is well documented. Does a ban serve only to spite those who stand to benefit most?

Schronen, Johan, 18 January 2000, "Initiation rites nipped in the bud"
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=105&art_id=ct20000118100725621530939, Accessed 16 August 2010.

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