Training of the Ingcibi

In interviews with city officials, an Eastern Cape Health Official, and ingcibis it has been stated that the lack of surgical education that continues to exist in both Capes by some practicing ingcibis is one of the greatest dangers to the health of initiates. In a 2008 study by Karl Peltzer, 192 initiates were examined after being circumcised.  It was shown that even some of those surgeons who have gone through training fail to perform safe circumcision procedures (Peltzer et al., 2008).

Of equal concern to a surgeon’s ability to perform a surgery is his knowledge about the transmission of HIV/AIDS, which can also endanger the life of an initiate if not taken into consideration.  One ingcibi in the Western Cape provided the argument that because blood does not immediately come to the surface when a cut is made, the blade hypothetically will not transmit HIV. This argument shows a misunderstanding and a lack of education on the transmission of the disease.

The same ingcibi discussed above with whom the team spoke in the Western Cape stated that he recommends to all initiates that they receive a physical evaluation before he is to be able to proceed with the initiation ritual.  However, it is the right of the initiate to abstain from testing for STD’s and HIV.  This, the ingcibi says, is to ensure the privacy of the boy, and to prevent possible trauma.  Nonetheless, if the ingcibi says an initiate is fit for circumcision, then a boy will neither receive medication nor treatment, and may proceed through initiation without anyone knowing the initiates’ complete health status.  This voluntary testing practice is the same throughout South Africa