Tag Archives: male circumcision

Circumcision SA style – the unkindest cut of all

It demands a certain je ne sais quoi for someone of apparently sound mind to allow a man clad in animal skins to slice off their foreskin with a rusty assegai. And that in an isolated bush camp in the dead of winter, nogal. Especially since this rite of passage to manhood comes parcelled with…

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Urban circumcision, it’s not a bad thing

By Phozisa Mkele Every year there are fatalities of young boys in illegal initiation schools. This traditional practice is treated by some as a money-making scheme. With deaths and botched circumcisions on the rise, parents are opting for other alternatives. One such option that has become common in urban areas is having the circumcision undertaken…

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Deadly circumcision and initiation practices should be outlawed

Nelson Mandela in his autobiography The Long Walk to Freedom recounts his childhood experience during this rite of passage from boyhood to manhood. He writes: “When I was sixteen, the regent decided that it was time that I became a man. In Xhosa tradition, this is achieved through one means only: circumcision. In my tradition,…

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Masculinity under siege?

Every year young boys die in the process of “becoming men”, ulwaluko. Recently Mpumalanga made news when 27 boys died at an initiation camp. When such stories are reported I’m reminded of the imigidi I have attended, celebrating the return of ikrwala (a new man). Growing up, the deaths of amakrwala (the “new men”) were…

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