October 2, 2010

Xhosa Teens

Photograph by James Nachtwey, National Geographic

This Month in Photo of the Day: National Geographic Magazine Features

Xhosa teens, initiated into manhood in a centuries-old circumcision ritual called ulwaluko, stay in seclusion outside their Eastern Cape village, wrapped in ceremonial blankets and painted with white clay for purification. Hospital surgeries reduce the infection rate, but many boys opt for the old rite.

See more photos from the June 2010 story "Mandela’s Children."

Discover more about South Africa »


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