Man severely beaten for speaking out about his penis amputation
A person who attended the meeting and wanted to remain anonymous said: “The meeting at which the young man disclosed his condition was a gathering to discuss general issues, not initiation-related issues. But the amputee felt the urge to share what had happened to him and to ask traditional leaders what they were going to do about it. The three attackers felt the tradition is sacred and speaking about injuries harms the culture.”
‘Being allowed to get away with murder’
After Bityi spoke out in public last week and admitted to being an amputee, the young man’s grandmother, his closest living relative as both his parents died years ago, was “traumatised”, according to a friend. “She’s so surprised and shocked that all along he was living with a deep secret like this. She’s very concerned about her grandson and so is Bityi’s younger brother,” said the source.
Nkululeko Nxesi, director of the Community Development Foundation for South Africa that works with traditional leaders to make circumcision safer in the Eastern Cape, said he was not aware of the latest incident. “But we’re condemning such action with the strongest contempt because injured initiates should not be stigmatised or ill-treated, they need to be accepted. There’s a criminal element involved here that needs to be discussed with traditional leaders.”
Eastern Cape health department spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo condemned the attack, saying the perpetrators should be brought to justice. “This man’s penile injury is not an isolated incident. We have many initiation-related injuries and the ritual needs to be made safer. We, as the government, need to ensure that initiates who have been injured are supported and that perpetrators, including the traditional circumcisers and nurses responsible for penis-related injuries, are severely punished. They’re being allowed to get away with murder.”