Young man returns home after help from residents

Ayabonga Nyame dressed in his ikrwala (new man) clothes that he got from the Mzamomhle residents. PICTURE: SUPPLIED.

A young man who was struggling at home and ended up sneaking into initiation school without his parents’ permission because he saw that time was not on his side and was mocked by his peers was able to get out this past weekend thanks to the residents of Mzamomhle in Gonubie, East London.

Ayabonga Nyame (23) entered initiation school in November 2022 after being bullied by his peers who claimed he was old and that those younger than him were men before him. At home they did not know he sneaked into initiation school because his parents are poor and could not afford to organise a proper traditional send-off to initiation school.

Ayabonga Nyame on the day of his homecoming ceremony. PICTURE: SUPPLIED.

Nyame was alone at the initiation school for the entire month of January; all of the people he had gone in with had already left, and there was no hope of him returning. He would sometimes sleep without eating if no one passed by his initiate hut because that is how he obtained food, by asking.

He saw women walking not far from his hut one day, one of whom was Bongiwe Sifolo; he shouted for their attention, speaking from a distance away from them, he explained all his problems, asking for help to be released because he was afraid to return home.

Solomzi Solly Dyantyi, an activist who assists Mzamomhle and was one of the main organisers of Ayabonga’s homecoming, said he heard the message on Tuesday (January 24) last week from Anele Mkhatshana, who heard it from Sifolo.

Ayabonga Nyame on the day of his homecoming ceremony surrounded by young men and women. PICTURE: SUPPLIED.

“Anele said that when he heard this message, he went to the hut to take a look, and Ayabonga laid out all his problems, explaining he sneaked into the initiation school because his parents were not going to allow him because of the financial situation. He then requested to be released, stating that he is not looking for anything major but is tired of being alone and hungry.

“We started the preparations as residents on Tuesday with the help of the entire community of Mzamomhle, people took out what they had such as new clothes, food, alcohol, and Ayabonga was able to have his homecoming ceremony on Saturday, and the ceremony was great and successful.

“I am grateful for the people of Mzamomhle’s cooperation. This demonstrates that humanity still exists. They took on Ayabonga’s burden,” Dyantyi explained.

Ayabonga’s mother, Lindiwe Tshentu, says she still cannot believe what the residents did because they did not have hope, and she had no idea residents could interfere in such matters.

“I could not believe it when people came in carrying things for Ayabonga’s homecoming. It was difficult for me and his father to sleep in the house knowing that we have a child who sleeps outside and is hungry, and we have no plan,” Tshentu said.

This week, Ayabonga began school as an ikrwala (new man), just like his peers.