Tradition and trauma

2009-06-17 00:00

NEGATIVE remarks and media coverage have blemished the Xhosa rite of passage to manhood in recent years and these remarks and publicity have even led people, who do not practise this custom, to dare ask questions and have opinions about something they know nothing about.

From the outset, I’d like to make it clear that I went through this rite of passage over 10 years ago and I respect it.

Thando Mgqolozana’s A Man Who Is Not A Man tells the story of an initiate who experienced trauma and was loathed by people from his village and labelled a “failed man” after his circumcision went horribly wrong.

Many South Africans who do not practise this custom know the negative side of it because that’s what has been written about in newspapers and shown on television. There is another side to it. The side of pride and honour.

Although thousands of initiates have experienced the same if not similar trauma, this story is not about back door botched circumcisions by inexperienced traditional surgeons that lead to many young Xhosa men having their penises amputated or their limbs not “rising to the occasions” so to speak, because of deformities.

The story is about an initiate who was let down by the custodians of this custom after following proper procedures. The initiate has not only endured ostracism from his fellow villagers but has also been let down by love.

He does not in any way deserve to be judged by Xhosa men or anybody else. He is a man in his own right and his coming out unashamedly about his complicated circumcision will no doubt help those who have experienced similar traumas to heal emotionally and start picking up the pieces of their lives.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.