Circumcision victim takes to the hills
Say it with a sting.....
Mbalula flees circumcision
Philani Nombembe and Buyekezwa Makwabe
Published:Sep 13, 2008
Controversial ANC bigwig Fikile Mbalula put up a desperate fight when he discovered he was about to be circumcised last week.
Mbalula made for the hills, even managing to flag down a taxi to make his escape. But he eventually decided to stay, after talking to a traditional surgeon.
The surgeon, 73-year-old Ruben Nqabeni, said former ANC chief whip Tony Yengeni phoned him last Saturday to say “they had a problem” and they needed help.
Yengeni apparently drove to the traditional surgeon’s house in Guguletu, near Cape Town, that afternoon with an unsuspecting Mbalula, 36, — with ANC provincial secretary Mcebisi Skwatsha following in his car.
Yengeni left Mbalula, in the car while he discussed circumcising Mbalula with Nqabeni. Yengeni said Mbalula was willing to go through with the ritual, but kept on postponing it.
“Then Mbalula walked into the house and asked what was happening. I jokingly asked him when was he going to undergo the ritual and he replied in December. I said: ‘But you’re so old’. And we all laughed,” said Nqabeni.
Matters turned more serious when Mbalula, who was due to fly home to Johannesburg later that day, was informed he was going to the bush. He made a run for it.
Nqabeni said Mbalula managed to flag down a taxi in an attempt to escape, but was eventually persuaded to stay.
A special hut was built for Mbalula to keep prying eyes away and several bodyguards had been deployed to keep watch, Nqabeni confirmed.
Family spokesman Zizi Kodwa denied Mbalula had been duped into “becoming a man”.
He claimed Mbalula had been willing to undergo the ritual for the past four years.
He said Mbalula had expressed an interest in being circumcised when he had been deployed to the Western Cape last month along with Mpumalanga provincial MEC Dina Pule to unite the ANC’s warring factions.
“As a boy going to the mountain, he wouldn’t know what to do, there are things that need to be done. He obviously had spoken to a number of people in the Western Cape that may include (Yengeni and Skwatsha) but it is not them who facilitated everything. They could have been part of the people who handled it,” he said.
ANC heavyweight Mnyamezeli Booi said chiefs from the amaMpondomise — Mbalula’s clan — had sent a delegation to visit him.
Nqabeni said he had been circumcising initiates for more than 40 years — many of whom had gone on to become politicians. These include Yengeni and,
“I have to take care of him myself because he is not an ordinary initiate,” said Nqabeni.
Chief Ngangomhlaba Matanzima, chairman of the house of traditional leaders of the Eastern Cape said circumcision was a rite of passage that no one should avoid for the sake of their families and children.
“Circumcision is not only about the operation by the surgeon. It goes with the teachings one receives while there,” he said.
Matanzima said he commended those who decide to undergo the ritual “however old he might be”.
He said in traditional royal houses, uncircumcised men may not assume leadership roles and may not even take a wife.
“I do not know how it works in the political circles,” he said.
Yengeni and Skwatsha could not be reached for comment.
Comments by Sonny
The young comrades in the ANCYL are brave with their calls for 'war and killings' but take to the hills when called upon to be circumcised.
Are they afraid of the sight of their own blood or the pain of the circumcision?