Segments in this Video

Unfinished Circumcision (02:32)


Sipho Singiswa began the circumcision ritual while he was incarcerated on Twenty-three years later, he returns home to complete the ceremony. (Credits)

Traveling to Cape Town (03:01)

Kai Schutte-Singiswa will spend time with his Xhosa relatives and learn about the culture. The family arrives in Guguletu; Mahogany Singiswa, Ma Gwen Singiswa, and Vuyo Singiswa greet them.

Ceremony Preparations (03:25)

Sipho picks up his father and his uncle, and chooses a sheep to be killed. Gillian Schutte does not want Kai to witness the death. Sipho prepares Vuyo for a meeting with tribal elders.

Ritual Refusal (05:37)

Tata Stanford Singiswa wants Sipho to speak to Vuyo about being circumcised. Ma Gwen Singiswa collects ash. Vuyo does not want to got through the rite-of-passage ritual.

Vuyo's Sexuality (03:21)

Tata is angry and disappointed after learning Vuyo is homosexual. Vuyo realizes he was adopted after needing his birth certificate for a job.

Respecting Ancestors (03:48)

Ma Gwen explains that Gillian is supposed to prepare a mixture for the ceremony and needs to wear traditional attire. Sipho explains a ritual to Kai.

Clan Elder Meeting (06:46)

The elders discuss the upcoming trip to Robben Island. An uncle suggests that Vuyo be forced into circumcision. Sipho is frustrated at his brother's lack of interest in tradition.

Suicide Attempt (06:57)

Sipho takes Vuyo to the hospital; Gillian worries he overdosed. Mahogany worries Vuyo may think they are taking him to the bush to be circumcised. Gillian encourages Vuyo to undergo therapy.

Preparations and Overdose (05:52)

Elders are unhappy that the young men prepare the calabash incorrectly. The doctors suspect Vuyo overdosed and transfer him to Jooste hospital. Sipho is frustrated and angry at his brother's actions.

First Celebration (04:21)

Everyone feasts on the sheep. Elders, relatives, and friends honor the rite of passage. The next day, the elders tour Robben Island. Sipho explains how inmates performed the circumcision in secret.

Completing the Ritual (03:08)

The elders gather. Sipho asks the ancestors for forgiveness because the calabash was prepared incorrectly; the women prepare the feast.

Ritual Feast (06:18)

The women prepare the feast and Mahogany discusses trying to find Vuyo's biological parents. Elders pay homage to Sipho; Gillian wears traditional attire. Sipho worries about Vuyo.

Personal Footage (04:16)

Vuyo returns home from the hospital. Gillian worries about including footage of the suicide attempt. Sipho believes they need to confront Vuyo tomorrow.

Confronting Vuyo (12:12)

Tata and Ma Gwen wonder what more Vuyo wants. Vuyo explains why he tried to commit suicide. Mahogany asks that the family continue the discussion at a later time.

Credits: Umgidi (Shadow Dancing) (02:27)

Credits: Umgidi (Shadow Dancing)

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Umgidi (Shadow Dancing)

Part of the Series : Real Stories from a Free South Africa
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Sipho is a former political prisoner on Robben Island who decides to return to his home town to complete the Xhosa initiation ritual he began while in prison. But his younger brother, Vuyo, is quite reluctant to have his own ceremony, partly because he is gay and is conflicted about adopting traditional practices. This film explores a family and a country trying to embrace both modernity and tradition.

Length: 75 minutes

Item#: BVL165980

Copyright date: ©2004

Closed Captioned

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