CAPE ARGUS NEWS, Cape Argus, South Africa, 15 August 2003.

3-Point Plan for Safer Ritual

Cape Argus (Cape Town)
August 15, 2003
Posted to the web August 15, 2003

By Di Caelers

A registry of circumcision schools, proper training and certification, and inspections of bush circumcision sites would address "the barbarism perpetrated on today's hapless youth".

That's the call from the editor of the SA Medical Journal, Professor Dan Ncayiyana, who says the "barbarism" of the circumcision ritual today has little in common with the principles of this ancient rite.

Writing in the latest edition of the journal, Ncayiyana comments on a study from the Bolopedu district in Limpopo that concluded the modern-day circumcision ritual had "degenerated into a money-making operation".

People paid as much as R400 a boy for attendance.

Even worse, the research says, because more boys were having clinical circumcisions, "the school leaders have resorted to ... abducting males to these schools".

Deaths from ritual circumcision mostly happened in impoverished rural and peri-urban communities.

The ancient rite used to be about preparing youngsters for manhood.

Calling many "circumcision schools" fakes - and deadly - Ncayiyana said three interventions could save many lives:

  • Establishment of a registry of circumcision schools, and a requirement that they be registered.
  • Training and certification of those conducting circumcisions.
  • Bush circumcision venues must pass inspection.

(File prepared 18 August 2003)