Decimating population

THE country lost 28 precious lives this month. The young men died during the yearly circumcision rites in Eastern Cape.

THE country lost 28 precious lives this month. The young men died during the yearly circumcision rites in Eastern Cape.

The nation noted with horror as the numbers mounted up.

The initiation rite of passage is a traditional African transition from boyhood to manhood. It is a sacred rite that should be protected and enacted with pride.

But in recent years it has become a lucrative money-spinner that is used by unscrupulous operators. They erect makeshift schools in the dongas of Eastern Cape, far from official eyes, and charge exorbitant fees for attendance.

They have no skills to practise as traditional surgeons and do not know the first thing about hygiene. The medical profession and the government have tried for several years to regulate these schools to no avail.

It is time that the general public join the authorities in destroying these fakes who kill and maim our young men.

It is not right and it will never be right for them to hide behind the skirts of tradition.

It has been proven that the snip can be done at hospitals or by professional medical personnel. That, actually, is not the problem.

The fake surgeons count on the fact that parents consider the bush doctors to be the authentic practitioners of the rite. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We must protect all traditions but we also need to protect our young against fakes and charlatans.

Traditions evolve over time and ukulusa should also now be practised by medical experts. And we don't have to dump the African part of the ritual.

X