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Man drowns

A man drowned while performing a cleansing ritual in Hermanus last week.

Warrant Officer Calvin Duncan, spokesperson for the Hermanus police, says the 32-year-old reportedly went to wash himself in the ocean after being released from prison.

“He went to the sea alone on Wednesday and was never seen alive again,” he said. The deceased’s family reported him missing after they found his clothes on the rocks while searching for him after he failed to return home.

Thanks to the help of police divers from Mossel Bay, called in to assist in the search for the missing man, the man’s body was recovered from the New Harbour at approximately 13:40 on Thursday 27 June.

A Xhosa man explained to the Hermanus Times that it is part of the community’s culture to undergo a cleansing ritual after being released from prison.

“Prison is considered bad luck so it is important to cleanse oneself before returning home so one doesn’t take that bad luck into one’s house,” he explained. “Sea water is regarded as pure, which is why people wash in the ocean or ingest it to cleanse themselves. Some people also slaughter an animal, such as a goat or cow. This is done to appease the ancestors.”

Duncan said an inquest docket is being investigated.

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