Circumcision in Africa

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"The distribution of circumcision and initiation rites throughout Africa, and the frequent resemblance between details of ceremonial procedure in areas thousands of miles apart, indicate that the circumcision ritual has an old tradition behind it and in its present form is the result of a long process of development."[1]

African cultural history is conveniently spoken of in terms of language group. The Niger–Congo speakers of today extend from Senegal to Kenya to South Africa and all points between. In the historic period, the Niger–Congo speaking peoples predominantly have and have had male circumcision which occurred in young warrior initiation schools, the schools of Senegal and Gambia being not so very different from those of the Kenyan Gikuyu and South African Zulu. Their common ancestor was a horticultural group five, perhaps seven, thousand years ago from an area of the Cross River in modern Nigeria. From that area a horticultural frontier moved outward into West Africa and the Congo Basin. Certainly, the warrior schools with male circumcision were a part of the ancestral society's cultural repertoire.[2]

Nations[edit]

Cameroon[edit]

The male child circumcision rate in Cameroon is around 90%, in common with other countries of West and North Africa, with operations performed in hospitals and clinics.[3]

Ghana[edit]

The male child circumcision rate in Ghana is around 95%, with operations performed in hospitals and clinics. However, there are some variations in the country. For example, circumcision is less common in Ghana's Upper West Region, at 68%.[4]

Ivory Coast[edit]

The male circumcision rate in Ivory Coast is around 95%,[5] with operations conducted in hospitals and health clinics.

Kenya[edit]

The male circumcision rate in Kenya is around 84%, with operations performed in hospitals and clinics.[4]

In traditional circumcisions, often the same knife is used for many initiates.[6][7] This is thought to contribute to the spread of HIV.

In addition to traditional circumcision, the men of Africa enjoyed "benefits" such as young men became members of the warrior class, and were free to date and marry. The graduates became a fraternity which served together, and continued to have mutual obligation to each other for life.

In the modern context in East Africa, the physical element of male circumcision remains (in the societies that have historically practiced it) but without most of the other accompanying rites, context, and programs. For many, the operation is now performed in private on one individual, in a hospital or doctor's office. Anesthesia is often used in such settings. There are tribes, however, that do not accept this modernized practice. They insist on circumcision in a group ceremony, and a test of courage at the banks of a river. This more traditional approach is common amongst the Meru and the Kisii tribes of Kenya.[2] One boy in Meru County, Kenya was assaulted by other boys because they wanted him to be circumcised in a traditional ceremony as opposed to in a hospital.[8] Amongst the Gikuyu (Kikuyu) people of Kenya and the Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania, male circumcision has historically been the graduation element of an educational program which taught tribal beliefs, practices, culture, religion and history to youth who were on the verge of becoming full-fledged members of society. The circumcision ceremony was very public, and required a display of courage under the knife in order to maintain the honor and prestige of the young man and his family. The only form of anesthesia was a bath in the cold morning waters of a river, which tended to numb the senses to a minor degree. The youths being circumcised were required to maintain a stoic expression and not to flinch from the pain.[2]

Despite the loss of the rites and ceremonies that accompanied male circumcision in the past, the physical operation remains crucial to personal identity and pride, and acceptance in society. Uncircumcised men in these communities risk being "outed", and subjected to ridicule as "boys". There have been many cases of forced circumcision of men from such communities who are discovered to have escaped the ritual. Those who do not want to be circumcised seek refuge in Kenya's police stations.[9]

Liberia[edit]

Almost all men (98 percent) in Liberia are circumcised,[10] with operations carried out in hospitals and health clinics.

Morocco[edit]

Circumcision in Morocco had been performed by barbers. This is now performed by medical surgeons. Circumcision of almost two-year-old at the time prince Moulay Hassan prompted thousands of other young boys to be circumcised. The procedure is considered "purification" (t'hara) by Muslims. [11]

Nigeria[edit]

Nigerian culture favours circumcising baby boys when they are aged between eight to forty days.[12] Neonatal (child) circumcision is performed on more than 85% of boys in Nigeria, Western Africa, and majority of the procedure is done by nurses (56%) and doctors (35%) with a small proportion (9%) performed by traditional practitioners (2). The reasons are cultural and religious.[13]

Rwanda[edit]

Rwanda previously had a lower rate of circumcision, similar to South Africa. Both nations have been introduced a "safe" PrePex device which claims to involves no pain nor bleeding. The Government Of Rwanda wishes to fight HIV. However, complications have occurred after a few of the circumcisions, including death. Rwanda Ministry Of Health denies that the deaths occurred from the result of circumcision.[14]

Sierra Leone[edit]

The male circumcision rate in Sierra Leone, estimated in 2016, is around 96.1%,[15] with operations carried out in hospitals and health clinics.

South Africa[edit]

In some South African ethnic groups, circumcision has roots in several belief systems, and is performed most of the time on teenage boys:

The young men in the eastern Cape belong to the Xhosa ethnic group for whom circumcision is considered part of the passage into manhood. ... A law was recently introduced requiring initiation schools to be licensed and only allowing circumcisions to be performed on youths aged 18 and older. But Eastern Cape provincial Health Department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo told Reuters news agency that boys as young as 11 had died. Each year thousands of young men go into the bush alone, without water, to attend initiation schools. Many do not survive the ordeal.[16]

According to one article, as of December 2015, 10 million men have undergone voluntary circumcision in East and Southern Africa. since 2008.[17]

Uganda[edit]

In Uganda, circumcision is performed for religious, cultural, and medical reasons. Medical related Circumcision is mainly for reduction of HIV, and STI. It is performed by non-physicians, including for infants and neonates.[18]

Zambia[edit]

In Zambia there is a circumcision programme underway because some believe it could reduce HIV.[19]

Tribes[edit]

Bukusu[edit]

Traditional circumcision is practiced among the Bukusu people of Kenya.[20][21][22][23] Ceremonies usually take place in August. They involve the use of mud. This is used to prevent excessive bleeding after the cut, to prevent wincing, and to commemorate a traditional legend.[24]

Gisu[edit]

The Gisu people of Uganda are closely related to the Bukusu and also practice circumcision. In Uganda, a circumcision ceremony is called Imbalu.[25][26]

Massai[edit]

Amongst the Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania, male circumcision has historically been the graduation element of an educational program which taught tribal beliefs, practices, culture, religion and history to youth who were on the verge of becoming full-fledged members of society. The circumcision ceremony was very public, and required a display of courage under the knife in order to maintain the honor and prestige of the young man and his family. The only form of anesthesia was a bath in the cold morning waters of a river, which tended to numb the senses to a minor degree. The youths being circumcised were required to maintain a stoic expression and not to flinch from the pain.[2]

Bantu[edit]

Bantu circumcisions have been declining.[27]

Dinka[edit]

Agar Dinka do not circumcise.[28]

Luo[edit]

The Luo, the tribe Barack Obama's father belonged to, do not circumcise.[2]

Turkana[edit]

The Turkana tribe do not perform ritual circumcision.[9]

Other measures[edit]

Barack Obama launched a hygiene program as an alternative to circumcision. The reason why this program was launched is because some Black African Males did not want to be circumcised.[29] However, this hygiene program only occurred in 2009-2010 and did not replace the circumcision efforts.

South Africa refuses infant circumcisions, but with mixed reception.[30] Additionally, they have boycotted "Do-It-Yourself" Circumcision devices, but only the ones made in Israel which was part of an already-existing boycott of Israel.[31]

There are organizations supporting foreskin restoration in South Africa.[32][33]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wagner, G. (1949). The Bantu of North Kavirondo. London: International African Institute.
  2. ^ a b c d e Marck, Jeff (1997). "Aspects of male circumcision in sub-equatorial African culture history" (PDF). Health Transition Review (7 Supplement): 337–359. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-06. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  3. ^ Ernest Kenu, Tin Tin Sint, Claude Kamenga and Rene Ekpini (July 2016). "Early Infant Male Circumcision in Cameroon and Senegal: Demand, Service Provision, and Cultural Context". Global Health: Science and Practice. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Neonatal and child male circumcision: a global review" (PDF). World Health Organization. April 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  5. ^ "HIV Prevalence by Region - 12 African "PEPFAR Focus" Countries (page 11) - Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)" (PDF). New Paradigm Fund. 2008. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  6. ^ Maino, Eric. "Traditional circumcision a health hazard". Newsfromafrica.
  7. ^ Marck, Jeff (1997). "Aspects of male circumcision in sub-equatorial African culture history" (PDF). Health Transition Review (7 Supplement): 348. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-06. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  8. ^ "Class 7 pupil injured after forceful traditional circumcision attempt by other boys". Youtube. Kenya Television Network. 20 August 2014.
  9. ^ a b https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/two-kenyan-tribes-divided-by-the-festival-of-circumcision-9664967.html
  10. ^ "Liberia 2007 Demographic and Health Survey - Key Findings - HIV/AIDS-RELATED BEHAVIOR (page 13) - Male circumcision" (PDF). Liberia Demographic and Health Survey (LDHS). 2007. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  11. ^ http://www.foxnews.com/story/2005/04/15/mass-circumcision-in-morocco.html
  12. ^ Scott Millar (24 August 2003). "Focus: Chasm that cost a life". The Times, London. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  13. ^ Lawal, TA; Olapade-Olaopa, EO (2017). "Circumcision and its effects in Africa - Practice of circumcision across Africa". Transl Androl Urol. 6 (2): 149–157. doi:10.21037/tau.2016.12.02. PMC 5422680. PMID 28540221.
  14. ^ http://www.inyenyerinews.org/human-rights/rwanda-families-blame-circumcision-for-death-of-children/
  15. ^ Brian J Morris, Richard G Wamai, Esther B Henebeng, Aaron AR Tobian, Jeffrey D Klausner, Joya Banerjee, and Catherine A Hankins (March 2016). "Estimation of country-specific and global prevalence of male circumcision - Discussion". National Institutes of Health. PMC 4772313. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  16. ^ "South Africa circumcision deaths". BBC Online. 15 July 2003. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  17. ^ "Africa: 10 Million Circumcised in East, Southern Africa". allafrica.com/. 4 December 2015.
  18. ^ Kankaka, EN; Murungi, T; Kigozi, G; et al. (2016). "Randomised trial of early infant circumcision performed by clinical officers and registered nurse midwives using the Mogen clamp in Rakai, Uganda". BJU Int. 119: 164–170. doi:10.1111/bju.13589.
  19. ^ "Zambia: 7,000 Males Circumcised in Ndola". allafrica.com. 21 October 2015.
  20. ^ "Circumcision rite among the Bukusu of western Kenya". Youtube. Kenya Broadcasting Corporation. 12 August 2014.
  21. ^ "Bukusu Post-Circumcision Rites Continue 3 Months After 'Cut'". Youtube. K24. 21 December 2014.
  22. ^ "Traditional circumcision season stirs excitement in Bukusu land". Youtube. NTV. 9 August 2014.
  23. ^ "Luhya, Bukusu in Kenya". Joshua Project.
  24. ^ "SAIJIKI FOR KENYA AND TROPICAL REGIONS". kenyasaijiki blog.
  25. ^ "Imbalu: Circumcision Party". VICE.
  26. ^ "Cut it!...Imbalu Ceremony". The Brett Diaspora Blog.
  27. ^ http://www.cirp.org/library/cultural/marck/
  28. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=X9db6P7xdP8C&pg=PA317&lpg=PA317&dq=dinka+not+circumcise+-female+-woman+-women&source=bl&ots=ta04Ck2j02&sig=g2Qy8V1IQBs0W-C6ULL8Wj9bIyE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj--9LipZnRAhWBWywKHURTAzAQ6AEIKzAF#v=onepage&q=dinka%20not%20circumcise%20-female%20-woman%20-women&f=false
  29. ^ http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/feds-spent-800000-economic-stimulus-african-genital-washing-program-0
  30. ^ http://www.circinfo.org/South_Africa_Childrens_Act.html
  31. ^ http://www.deisi.org/pages/healthcircumcision.htm
  32. ^ http://www.nocirc-sa.co.za/norm-sa-foreskin-restoration/
  33. ^ http://www.questioncircumcision.com/restoration.html