This interdisciplinary study, within the fields of anthropology and medicine, describesmy qualitative research as an anthropologist into the mental illness histories of fiveyoung Xhosa-speaking men who, within a year of their circumcision, suffered psychotic breakdowns. The study took place in Valkenberg Hospital for the Mentally Unwell and the surrounding disadvantaged, largely Xhosa-speaking communities in Cape Town, South Africa. Numerous admissions were screened over a two-yearperiod, but only these five men met the study criteria. Their case studies describe howthey perceived their circumcision and the stresses that may have contributed to theonset of their psychotic illness. Qualitative depth and ethnographic detail about practices was derived through interviews and fieldwork with family members, their social networks, and Xhosa-speaking people both in Cape Town and in the Eastern Cape. In addition, healthcare professionals were interviewed to provide insight into the case studies and health system practices. A thematic analysis was used to interpret the data whose strength lies in its anthropological description.