FESTIVITIES at the Xhosa Cultural Society opening function last weekend turned ugly when one member was assaulted for apparently “not being a man”.

The newly elected Wits ANCYL secretary and 2nd year BA politics and international relations student, Yamkela Fanisi, 19, was assaulted in the lift at the Matrix at about 1am last Saturday.

Fanisi says he got into the lift with some other people who were also coming from the X-Cus office. He realised the others in the lift were drunk and asked them to allow him to get out, casually referring to one of them as “chief”.

“When the lift got to ground floor one of the occupants got out and as I was about to get out the two guys physically halted me and pushed me to the corner of the lift,” said Fanisi.

“They asked me how I can call them ‘chief’ when we are not equal in our stages [of manhood]. They then punched me in the face and hit my face against the lift. I bled in my mouth and my face was swollen, but I went to res and took painkillers.”

Fanisi did not want to confirm that the reason he was beaten up was because he had not yet gone to initiation school. In Xhosa culture a male must go to initiation school once he is 18 years old, which is the legal age – or when he and his elders agree that he is ready.

“I understand they [the assaulters] were drunk but [to me] it’s about the hooliganism, not about the Xhosa men who beat Yamkela Fanisi. It`s not a tendency of Xhosa men to beat each other up,” he said.

He says he did not report the assault to campus control because he wants to uphold his reputation as ANCYL secretary and to protect the integrity of his culture and people. He says they are already plagued by all sorts of stereotypes created by other tribes.

X-Cus chairperson Silindokuhle Tsotso confirmed the incident had happened. He investigated and said he found a  person who admitted to assaulting Fanisi.

Tsotso said the assailant was apparently offended by the manner in which Fanisi had addressed them in the lift.

He told the perpetrator to apologise to Fanisi to avoid the legal consequences of his actions and to remove the bad reputation that he had brought to the society. No charges have been laid.