Boys butchered in the name of culture

2010-06-26 09:58

The horrific pictures shocked us all at City Press. Even the most

­hardened newshounds among us couldn’t take a second look at what remained of

the manhood of young initiates hospitalised after some ingcibi (traditional

­surgeon) botched up what was intended to be a rite of passage to turn boys into


If we could show these pictures to the world, we have no doubt that

not a single parent would allow their son to go into the bush to be ­circumcised

by someone they hardly know.

The shocking pictures of genitals that look like overfried sausages

will remain with us ­forever. The pain these young boys feel must be


And yet, each year in June and in December, the body count

continues to rise – and the ­silence from the custodians of this culture

­remains largely deafening.

Many more boys will be left without their manhood,

or with an ugly stump that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

As you read this, one of a number of ­unfortunate young Xhosa boys

may have his manhood fall off at any time, the result of a ­cultural and

traditional practice gone wrong.

He will become yet another statistic in the

growing number of boys whose lives are cut short by a single stroke of the

assegai or razor blade wielded by a bogus ingcibi.

These deaths are as senseless as they are unacceptable.

Even nurses

at the hospitals where the boys are admitted in a desperate bid to save their

lives – and whatever remains of their genitals – are sick and tired of the

horrific sights, and want to take leave when the circumcision season begins.


cannot blame them.

The butchering must stop.

Enough is enough!

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