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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Challenge to tradition: medical complications of traditional Xhosa circumcision
Author:Meintjes, GraemeISNI
Periodical:Indicator South Africa
Geographic term:South Africa
Abstract:Manhood initiation rites involving the circumcision of young men between the ages of 15 and 25 years are practised in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, by Xhosa-speaking people. The rite has been transformed in terms of form and function in the urban setting, and in recent years deaths, infections, injuries and penile complications have led to growing concern. Therefore, various intervention strategies are being developed. Interviews of patients admitted to hospitals for medical complications and other research carried out by the CMH Circumcision Task Team have assessed sociocultural and medical factors explaining the success or failure of interventions implemented thus far. Many of the complications are related to practising a traditional ritual within a modern urban context. While young men are using the ritual to affirm masculinity and Xhosa identity among the peer group of initiates, the ritual has become more about the act of circumcision and physical hardship than an educational process guided by traditional elders. The challenge is to ensure that safe contexts and practices replace the traditional ones where these have been lost. Methods used need not necessarily be biomedical. It is important that interventions involve communities. Bibliogr., sum.