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Mutilated Boy Found in Field May Undergo Sex-Change Operation

July 5, 1992

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Doctors are contemplating a sex-change operation for a 2-year-old boy whose sexual organs were mutilated in an apparent witchcraft ritual.

Because the boy’s penis and testicles were severed, doctors are trying to determine if the best treatment would be a sex-change operation, said Annette Clear, spokeswoman for Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, the black township outside Johannesburg.

″It’s one of the possibilities,″ Mrs. Clear said Sunday. ″But no decision has been made as far as I know.″

The child was found Thursday in a field in Soweto, suffering from severe blood loss, officials said. His thumbs were cut off and there had been an attempt to gouge out his eyes, in addition to the damage to his sexual organs.

″It was shocking, the worst case of cruelty I have ever seen,″ Dr. Muhammed Rasheed told The Sunday Star newspaper.

The doctor said he believed the boy would have a better life if he received a sex-change operation and began taking female hormones.

The boy’s mother identified her child Sunday, Mrs. Clear said, but the hospital has not released his name.

Some South African witchdoctors believe body parts of children are necessary for potions designed to ward off evil spirits.

Use of body parts is far more common in traditional, rural areas, however, than in urban centers such as Soweto.

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