THE DAILY DISPATCH, East London, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, Monday, 10 January 2005.
By Mvuyo Mati
EAST LONDON - Health MEC Bevan Goqwana has expressed shock at the deaths of an initiate and his elder brother, who apparently killed themselves in separate incidents at the weekend.
Goqwana said the initiate, Dontsa Lwane, 19, was found hanging at one of his homestead dwellings in Gqebenya locality near Lady Frere on Saturday.
His brother, Wandile, 21, was found shot in a family house at Ezibeleni near Queenstown at about 2 am yesterday.
Goqwana said Dontsa was referred to Frontier Hospital in Queenstown on Friday with his parents' consent after he experienced medical complications following his circumcision on December 11. He was treated and discharged.
On his return to his hut, he removed the hospital dressing, but the older men allegedly forced him to put it back.
He disappeared at about 7 pm and was found hanging in his home by his brother, who later shot himself at Ezibeleni.
A health officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Lwane had indicated on his way back from the hospital that he would not be accepted back in the community.
Commenting on the deaths, Goqwana said they showed just how much stigma was involved in the circumcision ritual and this had had an impact on the youngster because he thought he would not be regarded as a man.
Goqwana stressed the need for counselling of youngsters before they undergo the initiation ritual.
Health Department officials closed down an initiation school at Mpindweni near Libode yesterday and five initiates were referred to Mthatha General Hospital. One was suffering from urinary complications and was in a critical condition, according to Health Department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo.
The other four initiates were treated and sent home to recover.
Kupelo said the traditional surgeon had been arrested for not complying with the Traditional Circumcision Act. If found guilty he could face up 10 years' imprisonment or a fine of R15 000.
A squabble believed to have been over a stolen mandrax tablet in a circumcision hut at Mavuso, near Alice, led to a man being stabbed to death in the early hours of Saturday morning, police reported. A man has been arrested.
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