An analysis of the impact of traditional initiation schools on adolescents sexual and reproductive health : a case study of rural Thulamela Municipality.
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There has been a great deal of focus on young people and how they obtain information about reproductive health matters in the era of HIV/AIDS. However, there has very limited research on role of traditional initiation schools in the era of HIVIAIDS. In some parts of South Africa, young men and women continue to attend traditional initiation schools. The primary aim of these schools is to disseminate information about sexuality and other reproductive health matters in order to ensure that young people are well prepared for their future social growth, societal responsibilities and conjugal matters. Interviews were conducted with young people who had attended traditional initiation schools. The study was conducted in three villages in the Limpopo Province in South Africa where traditional initiations are widely practices. The study examines the impact of traditional initiation schools on adolescent's sexuality and reproductive health behaviour. The findings of the study show that traditional initiation schools have an important role to play in imparting information about sexuality and reproductive health. Traditional initiation schools prepare young people for the transition to adulthood. It is believed that these schools produce men who are independent, brave and courageous and women who are good mothers, wives and daughter-in-Iaws. However, some young men and women feel that they are more likely to engage in sexual activities soon after attending traditional initiation schools. This is because there is massive use of sexually explicit language during the process of initiation. Some young people feel that traditional initiation schools have contributed to the increase in sexual activity and as a result, negative reproductive health outcomes. However, the main conclusion is that traditional initiation schools have an important role to play to shaping the sexual and reproductive health behaviour of Venda young men and women.