Initiate, 42, dies in E Cape

A 42-year-old initiate has died at his circumcision lodge (ibhuma) at Mbosweni locality in Herschel, bringing to six the number who have died in the province since the start of this year's circumcision period.

Captain Mpofana Skwatsha said Zibusile Kwili, 42, died at his lodge on Monday afternoon after complaining of stomach pains.

He said there was no evidence to suggest that Kwili was being ill-treated.

Another initiate was admitted to the Umtata General Hospital on Tuesday night bringing to 14 the number of initiates receiving treatment there. The 18-year-old had signs of "beatings" but was reported to be in a stable condition.

The dead initiates are from Whittlesea, Mount Ayliff, Libode, Ntabankulu, Herschel and East London.

The provincial health department has not disclosed their names. Reasons for the deaths have been given as septicaemia, negligence and natural causes.

Acting chief medical superintendent of the Umtata General Hospital, Dr Zola Dabula, said the condition of all the post-circumcision initiation candidates was "very stable".

They were suffering from minor genital infections - the result of unhygienic practices - and were being kept in a holding ward.


(File prepared 04 July 2002)