ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

When Male Circumcision Acts as State of Manhood and Becomes a Conduit of Death

Updated on July 13, 2014
Traditional male circumcision
Traditional male circumcision | Source

For many years, circumcision has been a worldwide issue concerning religions, practices and societies. For the developed and developing country, the benefits of circumcision and safety practices towards it provide a major relief for both parents and sons; causes lower to diminished mortality rate cause by circumcision. It's at man's discretion to undergo such process.

There are certain parts of the world when circumcision is mostly governed by their culture and the society they lived with; and when circumcision is only the basis and state of their manhood.

Source

Ulwaluko Revealed

The Guardian posted a news regarding a Dutch doctor in South Africa, Dr Dingeman Rijken, who obtained anger and abhorrence from South African traditional leaders, due to a website published that unveil the dark secrets of circumcision done in adolescent boys from the Xhosa group (a community group in South Africa).

The website created by Rijken, ulwaluko.co.za (ulwaluko means initiation to manhood in Xhosa language), reveals: male genital mutilation, torture and abuse, and the increasing death among young boys who undergone ulwaluko. The website numbers the cumulative death to 878 since 1995 in the Eastern Cape due to complications. It also highlights graphic pictures (various pictures of injured penises) of disfigured, infected, deformed, gangrenous, and amputated penises that severely earned enormous criticism from community leaders and accused the doctor of meddling with their culture.

The "Initiates"
The "Initiates" | Source

Ulwaluko, introduced by the website, is a traditional circumcision practice and ancient initiation rituals performed by a traditional surgeon to "initiates" or young boys undertaking the rituals. During rituals, the traditional surgeon shouted, "You are a man" after the traditional manner of circumcision. The initiates will reply "I am a man", and the foreskin will be attached to the boy's blanket.

Initiation rite
Initiation rite | Source
Initiation School
Initiation School | Source

Underlying Problems

As stated, the underlying problems included:

•Lack of Competence

It contains: (1) incompetence in part of traditional attendants in performing safe circumcision; (2) lack of supervision from relatives, community members, and traditional leaders; (3) and lack of regulation from stakeholders.

•The Belief in Secrecy and Sacredness

Revealing the details of the rituals, the agonizing pain and the discussion of problems that occurred —even to the girls or to the non-initiate—are prohibited.

•Inaccessible of Initiation School

Most of the traditional schools are located in a secluded area. Some are very distant and isolated making it very difficult and inaccessible for monitoring purposes.

•Poor Construction of Initiation School

The school is usually made of large plastic sheets; cramped and poorly ventilated structures; with fire continuously lit. These contribute to increased temperature inside which promotes surge of dehydration and is severed by fluid restriction practice.

ulwaluko

Unhygienic Circumcision Practice

One traditional spear (without proper sterilization) is commonly used to all initiates that can lead to disease transmission like HIV and Hepatitis B (other reports reveal that they are using now one spear for every initiates). According to the website, though sometimes the foreskin and the spear are washed with antiseptic, the procedure is rarely practiced.

As said, the foreskin is "chopped" rather than excised. Other complications arise with excessive bleeding, ragged circumcision, excessive removal of skin or foreskin not removed entirely, and rare instances of the glans or urethra injuries—contributing to severe genital mutilation.

•Improper Wound Care

Poor aseptic practices include: gloves are not used before each dressing change; bandages are used to different initiates and are tightly applied that result to gradual blood flow and delayed wound healing; leaves or traditional herbs are rubbed first in the sole of the foot before application to the wound which introduces bacteria to the wound and inducts infection.

•Sleep Deprivation

During this stage, the initiates are used to believe they are endangered by witches so they put white clay and sing all night to keep the witches away.

•Pre-existing medical condition

"Western" medication is not allowed and someone who brought it was perceived as "weak"—which can aggravates the pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes, mental health issues, asthma, or epilepsy.

•Complications

The website stated that death occurs (usually) within the first eight days after circumcision, and those complications are attributed to witchcrafts, and are perceived to be as a result of weakness and cowardice of initiates.

Revelation from Initiates

•Physical Abuse and Torture

Dr Dingeman Rijken stated on his website,

"Winter 2012. Groups of young boys with white faces were brought out of a secret dark world into glaring hospital lights. Sunken eyes from dehydration, flaky skin from malnourishment, bagged eyes from sleep deprivation. Frequently you would smell the rotting when they were walking past. I spend many hours cleaning their wounds, trying to insert urinary catheters in their botched penis, battling to explain 17-year-olds that they had lost their manhood."

"All initiates suffer from some form of abuse. They are commonly beaten on their heads, and the practice of ‘nose pulling’ sometimes leads to nasal lacerations. Even penile bandages are often tightened as a form of punishment. Severe beatings occur frequently. Some initiates are being burnt with objects, and I have seen one initiate who’s penile bandage had been yanked off repeatedly."

Other problems comprise: moral demise; cultural prejudice; financial burden; 10% of initiates (usually with moderate to severe complication) looked for medical attention; and other common misconceptions.

Conclusion

Being a new writer in the field of journalism, it is always an endeavor to make an article based on facts and truths. Making a stand on what you believed based on what you read is very hard. The only thing I have learned from reading is to stay and be focused on facts and truth.


Source

Look at the number of deaths. It reaches to 878 young boys (tortured and abused before they died as stated on the website). The community groups and leaders focused on harshly criticizing the website because it damages their believed culture. Even if the number of deaths was reduced to only one, it will never un-signify the human right violation done on young boys. Even these adolescent boys were under the jurisdiction of their parents, community group, their culture and government, these young boys are human entitled and capable to be given human rights. But this human right is violated by each of their self interest and pride.


Children are gifts
Children are gifts | Source

Why don’t the parents, community leaders, and government officials sit down for a while (and shut up their mouths temporarily) and investigate: Is the number of deaths and the revelation in the articles are true (?); then afterwards, the community groups, leaders and supporters can protest all they want for violation of their freedom (after the investigation)—because those boys who died cannot protest anymore!

Look at communities' principles—respect for self, for family, and for community. The agonizing pressure that peers, family, community and culture bring to the boys to undergo these rituals are already an abuse to their rights. These adolescents are also entitled to be respected.

Look at the government officials' oath—uphold the human rights. You can only uphold human rights by focusing on the truths and facts or else you will only be carried away by the whims and tantrums of people's selfishness. Now, look at the numbers of deaths—878 young boys. They are all dead.

To The Community Group

Solutions are nearly on your hands, you just have to take it and open your eyes. Your rituals and practices will never be taken away from you but you also have to respect the health and lives of young boys. You may be adults and powerful through your communities but you have no single right to risk the life of boys you have not created. Weigh what is important--culture or life?

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)