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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Rituals of Manhood in South Africa: Circumcision at the Cutting Edge of Critical Intervention
Authors:Van Vuuren, Chris J.
De Jongh, Michael
Periodical:South African Journal of Ethnology
Geographic term:South Africa
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Health and Nutrition
Abstract:This article investigates the institution of male circumcision ritual in its present manifestation among the Xhosa of the Eastern Cape in South Africa. It shows that urban demands and constraints such as lack of space, unemployment, doubt concerning the relevance of initiation as institution, malpractice and health risks have caused an increase in fatalities and hospitalizations in recent times. The article also discusses instances of intervention in order to counteract circumcision malpractice. Finally, it makes comparisons with Ndebele society, where circumcision is also practised on a large scale, but with far fewer casualities. The article is based on two research initiatives: research on environmental pollution caused by the ritual burning of initiation lodges, carried out in the greater Port Elizabeth metropolitan area in the Eastern Cape in 1996, and research that focused on the sociomedical dimensions of Xhosa circumcision ritual in the same period. Bibliogr., sum. in Afrikaans and English.