Chilling images of deformed penises on a website slamming
botched traditional circumcisions in South Africa have raised the ire of
cultural commentators who called Monday for the site to be shut down.
Dutch doctor Dingeman Rijken set up the webpage ulwaluko.co.za after scores of boys
and young men died last year when the initiation ceremony into manhood went
wrong. But critics say it betrays their culture and should have been handled
"That website must be shut down with immediate effect," said
Nkululeko Nxesi from the local Community Development Foundation of South Africa
"He (Rijken) should respect the cultural principles and processes of
this nation," Nxesi told AFP.
Deaths and hospitalisations
Traditional chief Patekile Holomisa echoed his sentiments.
"We condemn the exposure of this ritual to people who do not practise
it. Women should not see what happens at initiations," Holomisa, a former
leader of the Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa told AFP.
By mid-last year over 50 boys and young men had died from infection,
exhaustion and dehydration during the weeks-long initiation ceremony in the
bush, while over 300 were hospitalised, according to official figures.
Graphic images show severely disfigured, infected or amputated genitals on
the website, named for the local Xhosa language word for initiation into
manhood, which Rijken encountered while working in the rural Eastern Cape Province.
"If you see so many boys dying, at some point you have to talk about
it. Why do we sustain a ritual that slaughters boys in their prime, or physical
and mental scars many others for life?" Rijken told the local Daily
He is believed to have left the country to work in Malawi.
Bona fide scientific publication
South Africa's Film and Publications Board (FPB) restricted the website for
people under 13 years following a complaint by Codefsa because of
"material which may be very disturbing and harmful to children".
It however found that despite the shocking photos "it is a bona fide
scientific publication with great educative value," the FPB told AFP in an
"The website highlights the malice that bedevils this rich cultural
practice. It does not condemn the cultural practice but makes a clear
plea for it to be regulated so that the deaths do not occur."
A warning notice now appears when the reader logs onto the website.
But the cultural groups reject the board's finding, and have vowed to appeal
To circumcise or not
Circumcision: when tradition kills