Uncontrolled Circumcision Rites in Libode Shocks Government

News  East Cape News (Grahamstown, South Africa). Thursday, 2 August 2001.

Steven Kretzmann

Parents searching for their sons who had gone to be circumcised finally found them in hospital and the government was appealling to families to get involved in the process to avoid this and other shocking practises, said  External link Health department spokesperson Mahlubandile Mageda today. (subs: Thurs).

Getting involved would also to curb the death and mutilation rate.

He said: Some parents don't know where their boys are. After a month they find out they're in hospital, said Mageda. What was happening in some areas was a great shock. I know it is a problem. We want to cap it. If we can control that (initiation) we will succeed in so many areas of health care. You have an 11-year-old being circumcised. Where does that come from? That is not circumcision.

Libode was a particularly bad area. Circumcision was never done there previously, now everyone is being circumcised. We have some guys in custody for sending boys out to steal a chicken in return for circumcision.

There are uncircumcised men pretending to be incgibi. Thats why the Kings must be involved so they know who is working as an ingcibi in their area. All stake holders must be involved. The department was breaking new ground in gathering information around the initiation custom.

We are examining issues in order to develop a programme. There is a broad network gathering information.

Health investigators are working with local communities and councils, trying to get all stakeholders involved. Workshops have been happening. Health investigators have been going to schools and conducting workshops in an effort to educate communities.

Regarding the number of young men who returned home mutilated he said the department appealed to all health institutions to give them the best possible care they could.

We are really (just) starting. We need to examine the psychological affects of mutilation and develop a means to counsel them. However, he was positive that progress was being made. We are better off now than we were last year or the year before.


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