MAIL AND GUARDIAN, Capetown, South Africa, Monday, January 3, 2005.

Circumcision initiates kill traditional nurse

Cape Town, South Africa

About 20 circumcision initiates in Port Elizabeth turned on their traditional nurse and killed him, an Eastern Cape health department official said on Monday.

Sizwe Kupelo said the incident occurred on Friday, when the unnamed nurse was assaulted with sticks and died from his injuries.

"It is alleged he was not doing his job properly and was neglecting the initiates," said Kupelo.

He said no arrests had been effected by Monday afternoon among the initiates, aged between 18 and 25.

Meanwhile, the chairperson of the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders, Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, said that Friday's incident was "unheard of".

Matanzima said the incident showed there are "serious problems" around initiations, adding that he condemns the murder.

"For the boys to take such action ... one would expect that kind of action by the parents and not by the children."

According to Kupelo, since the start of the December initiation period, 10 initiates have succumbed to their injuries.

This includes the death of an initiate allegedly at the hands of traditional nurses in the Bizana area in eastern Pondoland. His body was dumped in a forest in an attempt to hide the death. -- Sapa

(File created 3 January 2005)