Initiation schools bend rules for World Cup

JOHANNESBURG - South African boys attending traditional "initiation" ceremonies, where they live in seclusion for up to six weeks in a passage to manhood, will be allowed to watch TV during the World Cup.

President Jacob Zuma said on Friday some tribal chiefs had relaxed initiation rules for the month-long tournament, hosted from June 11 in South Africa, the first African country to stage the world's most watched sporting event.

"This World Cup tournament has caused some communities to break with tradition. Parents of young boys who will be at initiation schools in Limpopo next month have been allowed to bring them television sets so that they can watch soccer," he said.

"It is reported that the province's House of Traditional Leaders wants to ensure that being in the bush does not disadvantage the boys."

Each year, Xhosa boys in their late teens live in the bush, learning survival skills to prepare them for manhood. They are also circumcised in a traditional ceremony.

Football fever is building in South Africa ahead of the tournament, with many cars adorned with flags and offices and streets full of people wearing replica football shirts, especially on Fridays.

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