EASTERN PROVINCE HERALD, Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa: Page 1-2,
Tuesday, 23 July 1996


UMTATA -   Villagers in the Lusikisiki area are still hunting for the 
man held responsible for last week's botched circumcisions, after a 
fifth Xhosa initiate, 16-year-old Phumsile Khala, died in hospital 

    Pondoland police told Ecna that the man was believed to be using 
old and unclean instruments for circumcisions.

    Four other youths died in as many days last week of septic wounds 
and dehydration after traditional circumcision rituals in Pondoland a 
fortnight ago.

    At least 53 others have been sent to hospital.

    Hospitals in Pondoland reported yesterday that most of the young 
men in their care were recovering.

    However, there were a few extreme cases in which doctors were 
considering amputating septic penises.

    Sapa reports that at Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, where traditional 
leaders have rejected an application to run a modern circumcision 
school, an ANC member said:

    "I myself went to circumcision school ten years ago and while I 
believe the tradition is a good one, conditions at the schools really 
need to be cleaned up."


COMMENT: Pondoland - The remote north-east corner of the Eastern Cape 
Province, noted for its mountainous, rugged, natural beauty and the 
relative traditional ways of many of its inhabitants. The amaMpondo 
and the amaMpondimise ("ama-" = isiXhosa prefix denoting "group") are 
isiXhosa speakers. It formed part of the former South African 
"homeland" of the Transkei. Lusikisiki is a charming town in the 
area. The name is onomatopeaic and refers to the sound the wind makes 
in the reeds.
Mpumalanga - Literally "Sunrise direction" or "East", is like the 
Eastern Cape one of the newly created provinces of post-apartheid 
South Africa. It is made up of the old eastern Transvaal and some 
"homelands". The latter should indicate that there are many people 
still involved in traditional lifestyles. Its inhabitants will be 
Nguni (siSwati, Shangaan and maybe some isiZulu speakers) as well as 
Northern Sotho speakers. It is noted for lush vegetation and the 
large Kruger National Park. It is a popular tourist destination and 
is very beautiful. It has a very dynamic and outspoken (and sometimes 
controversial) premier, Mr Phosa.
ANC - African National Congress, former liberation group and at 
present the majority political party in SA.
Ecna - Eastern Cape News Agency
Sapa - the South African Press Association
What should be read between the lines in the reference to Mpumalanga 
is the present struggle between traditionalists and the newly created 
and empowered Black middle class in South Africa, a considerable 
number who have returned from exile, often from sophisticated and 
affluent Western societies. [Anonymous]

(File revised 22 December 2003)