It denies a transgender person her identity but refusing to go through a cultural rite of passage further alienates her.
This sacred community ritual has been subverted and sullied by predatory and deadly opportunists.
Three people have been arrested after a Pondoland initiate who lost his penis and spoke out about it in public was beaten for "shaming the custom".
At least 12 boys have died this month in botched traditional circumcisions. We look at what happens when bungled initiations cost boys their penises.
We cannot willingly choose not to talk about cultural practices to the detriment of unknown numbers of boys, writes Faranaaz Parker.