Man flees ‘11 days of hell’

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initiation school_june 29

Reuters

A 23-year-old man fled from an initiation school at Mdantsane, East London after he was circumcised against his will, the Dispatch Online reported on Wednesday.

Sinethemba Gineto fled after what he described as “11 days of hell” from an initiation camp and stopping a traffic officer, who rushed him to hospital.

Gineto had waited for almost an hour on the side of Mdantsane Access Roadbefore a “Good Samaritan” traffic cop came to his rescue. He was currently recovering at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital (CMH).

According to him, he had been visiting his mother in Mdantsane's NU1 on June 16 when a group of men, including an uncle, allegedly “forced” him to undergo initiation.

He had been visiting from Johannesburg, where he lives with his Shangaan father. His mother is Xhosa. “My mother's brother said I am a man now and this was what needed to be done,” he said.

“I told my family that I did not want to undergo initiation, but my mother thought it was a good idea,” he explained, insisting that procedure was not followed and he had not even registered with the Department of Health, nor had he undergone any required physical examination.

Gineto pretended to be going to the toilet and fled after almost two weeks of being at the camp.

Provincial Health Department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said situations such as Gineto's were a “huge concern” at this time of the year.

He emphasised it was vital for all initiates and their families to follow the guidelines set out by the Department of Health.

“It is extremely important for potential initiates to undergo a pre-medical examination in order to determine whether or not they are fit to go to the mountain for a month.”

He said last week, 200 Bizana initiates were admitted to hospital due to allegedly botched circumcisions. - Sapa


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QALAZIVE, wrote

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01:15pm on 1 July 2011
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A lot of people think becoming a man is all about being circumsised.. nah .. i went to the bush its not only about that bt its also about what you learn from ther, you get told how to behave and act as a man and it is up to the person to follow or leave that! stop blaming the culture .

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salover, wrote

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06:18pm on 29 June 2011
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Circumcision is a part of many religions and cultures. As the health official said it should be done following guidelines which ensure a healthy outcome. Maybe this wasn't the ideal way things should be done but don't start talking about evolution and how wrong you think it is. Its not your custom so maybe learn more about. Its a pity so many South Africans see themselves as "evolved" but are happy to mock another mans culture. Thats barbaric in its own right. Respect other peoples cultures and maybe they will respect yours. The Jewish people are responsible for a lot of our "evolution" so are they to pathetic and barbaric? Think before you ink!

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Virginia Greenwood-Warner, wrote

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04:32pm on 29 June 2011
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How really pathetic - circumcision makes a boy a man!!! This is the 21st century!!!

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Logic, wrote

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03:29pm on 29 June 2011
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Can we not evolve? These ridiculous traditions along with religion is a serious hiderance to humanity progressing as a species. My goodness, when we consider the technological leaps we have taken it is really sad seeing that as a people we have not kept up cognitively.

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Anonymous, wrote

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02:59pm on 29 June 2011
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This boy will remain a boy...bang g@t!

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Maureen, wrote

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02:39pm on 29 June 2011
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How can any tradition or cultural custom that risks the loss of human life, be acceptable?

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Anonymous, wrote

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01:31pm on 29 June 2011
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This guys father is a Shangaan and he lives with him. So why wasn't he circumcised according to the Shangaan way? Does he regard himself as a Xhosa or a Shangaan? Why wasn't this guy's father consulted about this and why wasn't he respected as a father according to patriarchal Southern African cultures?

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shocked, wrote

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12:46pm on 29 June 2011
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I have nothing against any culture, but surely it should be somebody's choice as to whether or not they participate???? I am also froma cluture that has rituals, but i choose to step back from those which could cause damage to my health!

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Anonymous, wrote

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12:42pm on 29 June 2011
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i can understand cultures and the right to practise your belief, but really now. on 3rd degree last night there was the practice of young girls being raped and forced into marriage!!! is that cultural as well????? god help Africa cause its one big mess

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jeff, wrote

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12:25pm on 29 June 2011
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Noznoz, it is easy for you to talk, you did not loose your penis...I hope. But who will speak up for those that did! i have nothing against the ceremony itself, but medical procedure must be done by qualified medical personnel.Ask yourself this, if it was you or your son who died from infection, or lost his penis, self esteem etc from this would you still be defending this? Surely if you are honest your answer must be no.It is not an initiation which makes someone a man it is his character.Good parenting teaches character, and by that I mean respect for women, not abandoning children to be brought up without being supported financially, owning up to resposibility, etc.This is what is missing to a huge degree in the black community, Fathers are not good role models to their sons, most families are headed by unwed mothers and men have children with different women etc.A stranger cannot 'make' someone a man in one month, inside he will be the same person. He will only be different on the outside, by having no foreskin.Not all cultural practises are good just because they have been practised for a long time. Remember some cultures practise cannibalism! We need to move with the times and do what is right, not just blindly continue to do something because it has always been done that way.Initiations must be better regulated. Also don't you think that some people do initiations just for money and have no skills or qualifications? Who decides who can perform initiations? your comments would be appreciated.

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last cast, wrote

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12:01pm on 29 June 2011
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The custom and its importance in Xhosa culture cannot be brushed aside. However, it is getting boring to read every week about botched circumcisions and infections, deaths etc that result. This is the 21st Century - use sterile implements, have proper medical procedures in place, keep some antibiotics handy...come on guys, enough young men dying and getting sick or disfigured unnecessarily surely!

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Siya1, wrote

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11:54am on 29 June 2011
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Thanks NozNoz, couldn't have said it better myself. I am man of Xhosa Origin. I went through this and nothing was wrong about it.

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Mzubanzi, wrote

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11:46am on 29 June 2011
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What a coward! Ligwala eli, kuphelela initiate who could have absconded after 11 days, because basically he was mid-way through being a fully-fledged Xhosa man!!So, the moral of the story is, sanukunyanzela imigqakwe amasiko ezinye izizwe!

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Anonymous, wrote

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11:42am on 29 June 2011
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Could I please ask the media to stop publicising our valued cultural customs. We know what we are about and where we come from so we dont need WHITE or COLOUREDS to come and judge our tradition. Its ours and you jeckheads now nothing about it and you will never know for that matter. So please if you are not Xhosa and you have no idea what this means so just back Ziphukuphuku zeminqundu.

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allie, wrote

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11:39am on 29 June 2011
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Thoes people are almost "prehistoric" they will never progress and are better off living in a cave for the rest of their lives

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To hell with you telling us how to live, wrote

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11:35am on 29 June 2011
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To all non Xhosas who have no clue about our rituals other than reading on these so called news selling institutions, MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS! STOP STICKING YOUR DIRTY NOSES WHERE THEY DO NOT BELONG. Shame on the reporter for making this family tragedy a headline, The boy has disgrased his family and now they have to read it on these forums. We've been practising this for centuries, whats hell about it. Real hell is people telling Africans how to live their lives. Call me a racist if you want but MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. I am not an englishman so save your grammer corrections for someone who cares.

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Anonymous, wrote

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11:33am on 29 June 2011
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I was circumcised at a hospital,it was cool!

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NozNoz, wrote

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11:26am on 29 June 2011
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Jeff stay out of it because you will never understand. I am not condoning the fact that they forced him to do so its wrong and they need to be punished. Its our tradition and we wont stop it because you guys dont approve as long as u dont loose ur penis so stay out of it. I have two brothers that did it and they were both fine coz all the procedures where done accordingly and the othe one was 16 by the time and 18 but we decided to do them both. This guy is what we call igwala he is indeed not a true Xhosa.

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visto, wrote

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11:08am on 29 June 2011
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officially this story is nonsense. What is it that was hell about the story. apparently the victim was spoken to nicely and everything was explained to him. he was not taken at gunpoint or anything, and he shows no evidence of torture. I agree with the health official issue, but I am slowly suspecting that the boy was just a corward, period...and he ran away and fabricated the whole story

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Anonymous, wrote

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11:08am on 29 June 2011
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If its not western then its barbaric. Niyanya xa ninonke aba bathi this is barbaric. With that being said, it was wrong for them to send him to a Xhosa initiation school, willing or otherwise, because a child assumes their father's identity and if this boy's father is Shangaan (by the way its Tsonga not Shangaan) then he should go to initiation school for Tsongas not Xhosas.

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