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African Health Sciences

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Dangerous to mix: culture and politics in a traditional circumcision in South Africa.

M Banwari

Abstract


Background: Traditional circumcision (initiation) is an integral part of the Xhosa speaking communities. Circumcision is the first step towards manhood. It involves a number of cultural, religious, legal and ethical issues, which in terms of the constitution of the Republic of South Africa, are rights that must be protected.
Objective: To highlight the problem of circumcision related death in South Africa.
Case Report: This case report examines a 16- year boy who had died as result of botched circumcision by an unqualified traditional surgeon. He kept the boy in his custody despite his serious illness. He applied a tight bandage to control the bleeding, resulting in gangrene of the penis followed by septicemia. The histories, postmortem findings, cause of death and medico- legal and social aspects have been discussed in this manuscript.
Conclusion: There are unacceptable deaths related with circumcision in South Africa. The right to life cannot be sacrificed at the altar of culture and politics.

Keywords: Circumcision, initiation, religion, culture and politics.




http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/ahs.v15i1.38
AJOL African Journals Online