Teach the boys self-respect in the mountains

I WOULD be failing in my duty if I let the article on this subject (circumcision) by Nelvis Qelema, Sowetan Wednesday August 9, go without comment.

I WOULD be failing in my duty if I let the article on this subject (circumcision) by Nelvis Qelema, Sowetan Wednesday August 9, go without comment.

I write as an elderly African woman from a tribe that has long stopped this practice - that is if they ever practised it in the same way as Qelema's people.

This subject is much too serious to compare it with shaving or car racing. And, yes, there are protests against bull fighting.

Tradition, custom and language are not cast in stone. They move with the times according to who and what practitioners come into contact wit.

So if indeed these traditional schools teach about ubuntu and manhood, how is it that South Africa, even in those traditionally perfect rural areas, leads the world in women and girl disrespect, abuse and rape?

Do these traditional students realise that even if the white clay is a deodorant, it is not hygienic and has to be washed before one expects to go to bed with a woman?

Do they get to know about the important hygienic practices of washing their hands when they handle their genitalia?

Circumcision does not have to be associated with mutilation, cannibalism and ukutwala. Let it be done under hygienic conditions in hospitals.

Done that way it becomes an important practice that plays a vital role in the reduction of some fatal coital infections and the incidence of cervical cancer, the two factors that devastate the women population.

The ubuntu classes can proceed without going to the mountains or, if they have to for hardship, please teach them self-respect, cleanliness, responsibility and accountability.

Rose T Leteane, Mafikeng

X