Eastern Africa Social Science Research Review

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The Panacea and Perfidy of Cultural Rites of Circumcision in African Countries: Examples From Kenya, Botswana and South Africa

SM Kang’ethe


Cultural rites can be a panacea when the immense social capital embedded in them is taken stock of as well as they can be a perfidy
when all the retrogressive aspects they constitute are taken into consideration. The aim and objective of this article is to generate
debate and discourse on panacea and perfidy of cultural rites with particular focus on circumcision. The article used eclectic data sources.
Cultural rite of circumcision is a panacea due to an array of factors: it marks entry into adulthood from childhood; it is a mark of cultural
social identity in many societies of the world; it constitutes immense social capital and, currently, it serves as a platform for mitigating the effects of HIV/AIDS. Cultural rite of circumcision is also a perfidy due to: its violation of human rights to health; because it undermines boys’ and girls’ access to school; and because it is usually a leeway to early sexual overtures. The paper recommends to governments to: hold on their responsibilities to safeguard their citizens’ rights to health; ensure that male circumcision is surgically safe and done in a hygienic environment; and, alongside NGOs and civil society, educate communities to balance between the human rights pertaining to circumcision and cultural rights.

Keywords: Panacea, perfidy, cultural rites, circumcision, social capital, HIV/AIDS, adolescents
AJOL African Journals Online