Does initiation belong in the 21st century?

Students give their views on the age old practice

Initiation rituals take place at many South African institutions. Many are harmless pranks but some inflict injury, either physical or psychological, or both. The Journalist spoke to first year students to find out what they thought about the practice and about its relevance in the 21st century.

Neilwe Mahlangu

Reneilwe MahlanguWhat do you think of initiation?
In some instances it’s customary and necessary, everyone went through it and its sort of helps you appreciate the place where you are at more.

Do you think it is relevant for the 21st century?
Just like tradition, some things should be carried on from generation to generation regardless of the time period we are living in.

Ange van Jansveld

Ange van JansveldWhat do you think of initiation?
I think if it’s done right, then it’s good, especially if it’s more orientated. It shows the girls where what is and shows the boys where what is. I don’t think breaking them down and making them do silly stuff is necessary, but like showing them where stuff is, that’s good. I’m all for that

Do you think it is relevant for the 21st century?
Showing them where stuff is, yes – more orientation than initiation.

Karina van Jansveld

Karina van JansveldWhat do you think of initiation?
Initiation is fun, if you do it with a nice spirit and you go in to do it, but otherwise when they break you down then it can get bad. But, if you do it with the right spirit you will enjoy it.

Do you think it is relevant for the 21st century?
It is fun, because I think it’s necessary, it makes you part of something and it always makes you feel like you’re part of something. You never feel left out.

Karin van der Walt

Karin van der WaltWhat do you think of initiation?
I think it’s good, where we can have such services on campus, where students can feel safe and can go where they’re not afraid.

Do you think it is relevant for the 21st century?
Yes, definitely, because, I think there’s a lot of criticism in our land and on campus and everywhere, so I think it’s good.

Marika Smith

Marika SmithWhat do you think of initiation?
I think it’s a good thing, it brings people together, especially in residences, it bonds them. It bonds the first-year group and it teaches you about the rest of the campus and respect for all the people.

Do you find it relevant in the 21st century?
Yes, I do.

Caylin de Jager

Caylin de JagerWhat do you think of initiation?
At this stage, it’s quite something different. It’s not like something I am used to. Because, I’m used to being in my own space and now all of a sudden I’ve got 40 girls around me and I have to get used to 40 girls and sharing space, but, it’s fun.

Do you find it relevant in the 21st century?
Initiation in the 21st century still sounds a bit weird. It’s not something that should be within us. I would like it if it was just for two weeks and not eight months.

Velicia Williams

Velicia WilliamsWhat do you think of initiation?
It’s okay, it’s a whole new experience. I didn’t expect it to be all of this.  

Do you find it relevant in the 21st century?
No, definitely not.

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