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Ingcibi yakwa Bhaca Maganise Mbasane, who has circumcised 30 000 young men, with his assistant Keke Nongqotho - Xhosa Culture
Mount Frere Traditional surgeon, Maganise Mbasane, who has circumcised 30 000 young men, with his assistant Keke Nongqotho Pic: Lulamile Feni

Ingcibi – Traditional surgeon named cultural ambassador

Renowned Mount Frere traditional surgeon and sangoma Isaac Maganise Mbasane, who has circumcised about 30000 boys since 1984 without any of them dying, has been named cultural ambassador of the AmaBhaca nation.

Ingcibi yakwa Bhaca Maganise Mbasane, who has circumcised 30 000 young men, with his assistant Keke Nongqotho - Xhosa Culture
Mount Frere Traditional surgeon, Maganise Mbasane, who has circumcised 30 000 young men, with his assistant Keke Nongqotho
Pic: Lulamile Feni

Traditional leaders, government officials and colleagues applauded Mbasane for ensuring the safety of traditional circumcision and initiation in his 31 years as a surgeon.

Keke Nongqotho, now 73, who was circumcised by Mbasane when he was 63, is now Mbasane’s assistant sangoma and surgeon.

“Mbasane circumcised me after he had already circumcised all my three sons years before me. I would not be the man I am today if it were not for him,” said Nongqotho.

Mbasane said this season alone he had circumcised 580 boys. “They are all going to go back home alive, healthy and strong,” said Mbasane.

Mbasane, who underwent the rite in 1972, consults Western doctors when he requires their services.

“There are diseases that are cured by Western doctors and those that can be treated with African medicines.

Some boys are diabetic, epileptic, HIV-positive or have other diseases which needs Western medication,” he said.

“To be named an ambassador of your nation is such a great honour. I have to double my efforts in restoring the dignity of initiation as this enables others to adhere to the customary norms and values, which in other districts seem to have been eroded by greedy, inexperienced and unscrupulous traditional surgeons.”

Prince Zukisa Makaula said the AmaBhaca nation had earned respect because of Mbasane.

His record attracted boys from Mpondoland, AmaMpondomise and even the AmaHlubi. “There has never been initiation deaths in our areas.

To Mbasane, this is a calling from God and his ancestors,” said Makaula.

He said Mbasane inherited his skills from his grandfather and great-grandfather, who were both respected and trusted traditional surgeons.

“Circumcision and initiation in Bhacaland was banned in 1814, resumed in 1829 and closed again in June 1835.

The custom was opened again in 1866 and the first traditional surgeon who was declared the traditional surgeon of the nation was Shweme Mbasane, Magasane’s great-grandfather.

He was a great muti man who used strong muti to tame leopards, which were attacking and killing initiates,” said Makaula.

OR Tambo initiation monitoring coordinator Lungani Gotye, 33, said both he and his father had been circumcised by Mbasane.

“The government spends a lot of many on initiation awareness and monitoring and also a lot of money for the hospitalisation of the initiates. But if all the traditional surgeons and nurses can be like this one, the money could be used for different things,” said Gotye.

Residents said the secret to injury-free circumcision was due to the co-operation of parents and the skill and commitment of Mbasane and his assistants.

Source: Daily Dispatch

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