The Xhosa tribe  in South Africa have rite-of-passage ritual [circumcision] into manhood, called ukwaluka. 


In this ritual young men around 18 years of age are circumcised by a traditional practitioner called an incibi.  During the 10 day recovery period they are mentored by older male caregivers (ikhankatha) about the secret codes, practices and responsibilities of being a Xhosa   Ukwaluka is considered a test for endurance, of how courageous a man can be in his life. NPR 9.6.2014

What are the origins of ukwaluka?

Hebrew Bible?

The first person commanded to circumcise himself was Abraham, at the age of ninety-nine. G‑d told him (Genesis 17:7), “And I will establish a My covenant between Me and between you and between your seed after you throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant, to be to you for a G‑d and to your seed after you.”

“On the eighth day, the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.”  (Leviticus 12:2),   Learn more⇒ ♦ The Mitzvah – Abraham Chill Pages # 5  6  7

Xhosa Tribe members who are Christians  and follow the practice cite:

as justification for the continued practice of circumcision.  The conclusion in the treatise though is that baptism substitutes for circumcision for

I checked with the author of who is an oral historian and researcher and he states in an email dated 5.4.2015 that he does not think there is a story of this ritual, it dates back to time immemorial and does not have any links to the Bible.  He had asked his grandfather about it who was an oral historian and there was no clarity on the origins.  Zuku Pokwana is also the director of the Vusizwe Foundation for Historical Research.

All I’ve found in the references and emails to authors – Search Engine Research is that it’s Tradition… but no real citation or story.  If you have any insight to this question of where the tradition started and origins, please post in comments below.  Please include links if applicable to your source.


Trip Down Memory Lane Blogspot Tons of pictures on   Xhosa culture, but you have to scroll and scroll, it’s all on ONE page.

Botched ritual circumcision leads to world’s first penile transplant.   Learn more at NPR 3.19.2015

Botched circumcision calls attention to the dangers NPR 9.6.2014

Ukwaluka – initiation of boys in amazizi dlamini culture

Ukwaluka is an ancient rights-of-passage into manhood still widely practiced among the Xhosa people of South Africa. Boys between the ages of sixteen and twenty-three are traditionally taken up a mountain where they are circumcised and kept in isolation for several weeks. During the first 10 days of the healing process, the initiates’ food intake is severely limited and they must observe a vow of silence.

It is during this period of extreme physical vulnerability that they are mentored by older male caregivers (ikhankatha) about the secret codes, practices and responsibilities of being a Xhosa man

Wikipedia  numerous references

Child Pages


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29 comments on “Circumcision South African Tribe ukwaluka

    • In South Africa, even if a man signs himself up as an organ donor, his family must give final written approval of that request following his death. Time and again, families flat-out refused to consider giving up the penis of a deceased father, brother, husband or son. “I cannot even count how many no’s we got. It was very frustrating,” van der Merwe says. “People just don’t want their relatives going to the grave without a penis.”

      Then, an idea struck. Van der Merwe offered to fashion a faux penis out of a donor’s skin instead—a way to preserve the deceased’s dignity while also allowing him to do one final good deed. “People all of a sudden were thinking about the request, rather than just bluntly saying ‘no,’” van der Merwe says. On the fourth or fifth try—a year and a half after they began the search for a donor—one family finally said yes to a full penis donation.

      For now, the procedure is most promising for men who have lost their penises to cancer, battle injuries or accidents. Indeed, since news broke about the operation, van der Merwe has received numerous messages from hopeful men. “One man from the U.S. emailed me and said his life is intolerable, he has a stump not much longer than those from [botched] ritual circumcision,” van der Merwe says. Smithsonian Magazine *
      “Unfortunately we could not find a donor of the same race. In this case the donor is white and the recipient is black.” Health

      The biggest challenge to this SU study is organ donation. “I think the lack of penis transplants across the world since we performed the first one in 2014, is mostly due to a lack of donors. It might be easier to donate organs that you cannot see, like a kidney, than something like a hand or a penis,” says Van der Merwe.

      Other penile replacement options

      Current surgical options for patients include penis reconstruction involving free tissue transfer. During this procedure skin and soft tissue (“flap”) is taken from the arm, reconstructed into a penis and attached to the body. A prosthesis can also be implanted to allow sexual intercourse, but it is expensive and complications may develop.

      The penis may be an allograft from a human donor, or it may be grown artificially, though the latter has not yet been transplanted onto a human.

      genitourinary vascularized composite allografts (GUVCA) to replace lost tissue under conventional immunosuppressive medication. *******

      Phalloplasty is the construction or reconstruction of a penis, or the artificial modification of the penis by surgery. The term phalloplasty is also occasionally used to refer to penis enlargement.


  1. It seems it’s a Bantu culture, some things are same to Bukusu of Kenya. Including the same word Ukwalukha. And applying of white clay after initiation.

    History of Bantu needs to be researched, in Kenya there is a Myth that Bantu learned from Nilotes when we interacted, but it’s a lie if Bantus went to different directions earlier on , it means it started way back.

  2. Good day

    The history of this ritual is unclear. However, it needs to be traced in order to establish it’s relevance on this day and age. During my conversation with Mayenzeke Baza, who has recently made a documentary relating to this ritual, we have agreed that to issues need to be observed here, namely it’s #Relevance and #Procedure.

    • Our history was never written down and as a result, we know very little, if not at all about our past. It’s only after the arrival of the white men that we began to read about our own history. We will never know how we (blacks) lived 1000 years ago. Maybe, the archaeological sites (if any) may help in this regard. Our history remains buried with our ancestors. This is so sad.

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