Three suspects are to appear in the Flagstaff magistrate’s court on Wednesday for allegedly assaulting a 20-year-old man from Pondoland in the Eastern Cape after he spoke at a community meeting of his dismay at losing his penis in a botched traditional circumcision in June 2012.

Dingeman Rijken, a doctor who treated the man at the time of his injuries at Holy Cross Hospital near Flagstaff, said: “The initiate was allegedly accused of ‘shaming the custom’ by sharing his story of penile amputation at the meeting on Wednesday last week. The next day, on the Thursday afternoon, three men beat him severely. He suffered injuries to his head, feet, arms and legs. He was hospitalised and has since been discharged, but his injuries are still so severe that he cannot speak.”

According to a community member who witnessed the assault but asked not be identified, the attackers were in their mid-20s and appeared to be drunk.

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.”

Source: Mail and Guardian