The founder of the community-based organization, Ubuntu Care and Development, Nomonde Memeza, has urged women in South Africa to stand up against what she called the “violation of basic human rights and the right to life”, by traditional surgeons who practice improper initiation procedures.
Memza addressed an initiation summit that was held in Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape. The summit was also attended by traditional leaders and traditional surgeons and health care practitioners.
Memza says there are many young boys who have lost their manhood due to botched circumcisions.
Last year, 71 boys died during the winter and summer initiation seasons in the Eastern Cape. Dehydration, assault, botched circumcisions are the main causes of death.
The failure to do health screenings on the initiates prior to initiation has also been identified as another area of concern.
Memeza says it is high time women stood up and fought for the rights of their children.
“We must stand up as women. I am challenging you women of South Africa, come out let us fight for our children. We can see that our children are dying a painful death. No matter what women have to be told everything about their children. We are not with of our children when they go for the initiation school, even about their health we are not told, we are not told anything,” she says.
Memeza is also concerned about the long term welfare of the boys who emerge maimed from the initiation ritual. She says the most painful thing is when a young man coming from initiation and finds out that his manhood has been damaged.
The chairperson of the traditional leader’s forum in the Alfred Nzo region, Makhosini Diko, urged traditional leaders to come together and combat the commercialization of the custom.
Diko says, “Let’s do away with this commercialization of this custom because right now we have these problems because many people see business. When June is coming or December is coming somebody is thinking about how can I have so many numbers of boys so that my business can go well. It is so totally wrong and unaccepted.”
The co-ordinator of the TB and HIV awareness campaign in the O R Tambo Region, Andile Prucent, says traditional leaders should be educated about the significance of both methods of circumcision. He believes that male medical and traditional circumcision methods must be integrated.
Prucent says the majority of people are not well educated.
“We also have a fraction of people who are not well educated so what I would recommend is that both programmes they need to be integrated, that will also help both initiates to benefit health wise and also socially because the major problem is discrimination of the initiates who have undergone medical male circumcision and they are being discriminated by the traditional circumcised initiates,” says Prucent.
However, the traditional leaders, traditional surgeons and nurses will also continue to engage with the government and NGOs to find solutions to the high death toll during the initiation seasons.
Source – sabc