The Circumcision Genocide: The Unkindest Cut of them all

During the period June 2006 to June 2019, the traditional initiation procedure for African males has resulted in a veritable genocide in South Africa. Yet year after year all that government provides as a solution and solace for grieving parents are platitudes and promises.

What is the extent of this travesty?

Main picture: Xhosa initiates

The extent of this disaster is obvious from the cumulative statistics for this period. These statistics relate only to the Eastern Cape.

Consequence Number affected
Hospital admissions   8218
Deaths      794
Amputations      317

What has been the response from the government? Apart from some platitudes and proposals, no concrete action has been taken. Has any person been charged for culpable homicide? Has anybody been incarcerated or even fined? A deafening silence will be heard. Instead somebody is fined R200,000 for uttering the word Kaffir. The use of such a pejorative and demeaning term cannot be justified but none of the perpetrators of death was even fined by a derisory R1. Where is the justice?

On the other hand what has been the response when one black scholar was drowned while on school-organised adventure in the North West? Immediately the Education MEC for Gauteng, Pansy Lesufi, was baying for blood. The principal of the school was suspended, the South African Human Rights Commission became involved and vitriol was heaped upon all and sundry. Yet 794 black youths can callously die without nary a raised voice. The school officials deserve to have  opprobrium heaped upon them as all the basic control procedures such as the issue of life jackets seemed to have been ignored but what about the rights of 794 youths on the cusp of attaining adulthood. Does tradition trump life itself? Any government truly concerned about the rights of all its citizens would have put in place the relevant controls and punishments to prevent this senseless slaughter.

Why the asymmetrical treatment? Surely one irregular death is the same as another. This demands equivalence in the treatment not only between the various methods of death but also the severity of crimes such as crimen inuria versus death.

At this rate, South African doctors will become the most experienced in the world in performing penis transplants. In fact we will be in the invidious position of inviting foreign doctors to hone their skills in this little-practiced area in medical treatment.

Leave a Comment.