EASTERN PROVINCE HERALD, Port Elizabeth, Friday, July 19, 1996.


LUSIKISIKI - At least four initiates died and 36 others were admitted 
to hospital at Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape following weekend 
circumcision rituals which went horribly wrong at two initiation 

Of the 36 admitted to St Elizabeth and Holycross hospitals with 
septic wounds, three had lost their manhood and two others may lose 
their male organs.

Hospital officials said the initiates were also suffering from 
dehydration, malnutrition and chest infection.

One initiate was reportedly paralysed after being assaulted at 
the initiation school.

The initiates came from 11 villages in the Lusikisiki and 
Flagstaff districts. They attended initiation schools in the Hombe 
and Mdikane areas of Lusikisiki in Transkei.

On Wednesday, health department and police officials, accompanied 
by political and community leaders, rescued nine initiates at 
Cabekwana forest and another three at Ngqaqhumba village. They are 
still searching for other initiates.

Irate Hombe villagers are reportedly hunting for an unknown 
circumcision "doctor", whom they have labelled a murderer.

Parents in the area have been warned to check initiation schools 
before sending their sons. - SAPA


COMMENT: "The EP HERALD has carried a number of such stories in the 
past. The main circumcision "season" is in December when factories 
close for the festive season and young men use their holiday bonus 
pay to go to circumcision schools. Lusikisiki is a fairly remote 
rural district inhabited by people with strong traditional links. I 
suspect the young people may be mainly high school boys sent to the 
circumcision schools as it is now the winter school vacation."
[Contributed anonymously]

(File revised 19 December 2003)