The circumcision of males is a ritual that is performed in the veld, out of the public eye. Traditionally,
it has to be attended by circumcised men only; no one is allowed to see the initiates before they are
offi cially released or discharged. In recent times, initiates have been admitted to hospitals following
complications during the circumcision process. In the hospitals, they are cared for by nurses.
Hospitalisation of initiates creates problems for the elders who accompany the initiates as well as the
nurses who are expected to care for them. The purpose of the study was to explore and describe the
experiences of nurses who care for initiates who have been admitted into hospital with medical and
physical complications. A qualitative approach was adopted for this study, and the data was collected
by means of unstructured interviews.
A purposively selected sample of nurses of different categories from a rural hospital in the Nkangala
district in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa, participated in the study. The data was analysed, and
fi ve major categories were developed. The major categories were: confl icting cultural practices, emotions,
common complications, ethical issues and possible solutions. Based on the fi ndings of the study, it is
recommended that traditional circumcision should be regulated to avoid complications that lead to the
admission of initiates into hospitals. Also, a collaborative partnership should be established between the
health institutions and the traditional surgeons and healers in caring for initiates.