n South African Medical Journal - Traditional circumcision - the unkindest cut of all : correspondence

Volume 100, Issue 9
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Twenty years ago two Eastern Cape urological surgeons documented their experience with treating initiates of , the ancient custom of ritual circumcision practised by the amaXhosa people of southern Africa. Crowley and Kesner followed up 45 consecutive patients and documented a mortality rate of 9%. Recent press reports from the Eastern Cape claim an annual death rate of more than 70 per year. The death toll for the 2010 winter initiation period stood at 40 at the time of writing. These statistics not only point to the fact that little has changed, but suggest that the situation may in fact be deteriorating.

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