Anti-cyclonic rings are shed from the Agulhas Current at its retroflection. They subsequently drift off into the South Atlantic. Smaller, cyclonic eddies have also been observed in this region. The origin of these latter eddies has remained unknown. We present model results that indicate that the configuration of the southern Agulhas Current and the poleward termination of the continental shelf of Africa allows shedding of cyclonic lee eddies by a flow detachment process. Hydrographic data, thermal infrared satellite images and altimetric observations are furnished that show that this model simulation is consistent with the characteristics and the behaviour of cyclonic eddies in the region.