Ancient Origins Tour IRAQ

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Xhosa boys taking part in the Ulwaluko circumcision tradition. Source: Dingeman / GNU Free Documentation License.

From Boys to Men: The Circumcision Tradition of the Xhosa People (Video)


The circumcision ritual has long been a rite of passage for young men in many cultures. For the Xhosa people of South Africa, the tradition, known as Ulwaluko, is a crucial aspect of their cultural identity, marking a boy's transition into manhood. However, this ritual is not for the faint of heart. Boys are subjected to excruciating pain and isolation in remote huts where they spend weeks healing. This ancient custom is risky, with a high incidence of infection and even death, particularly in urban areas with poor hygiene and overcrowding. Despite the dangers, the Xhosa people consider circumcision a necessary step towards adulthood, and the ritual is a source of pride for the community. While the practice of circumcision may be controversial in some cultures, for the Xhosa people, it is an integral part of their identity and a testament to their enduring spirit.

Top image: Xhosa boys taking part in the Ulwaluko circumcision tradition. Source: Dingeman / GNU Free Documentation License.

By Robbie Mitchell

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I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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