CHIREDZI – Members of the Shangani ethnic group are increasingly embracing new methods of male circumcision, with the culture now opening up to modern ways of removing the foreskin.
This was apparent during the graduation ceremony which saw a total of 665 males from Chief Sengwe and Headman Muzamani graduating after spending four winter weeks undergoing the male circumcision process which was aided by Ministry of Health and Child Care through the National Aids Council (NAC).
The Population Service International (PSI) was also involved in the programme.
Speaking during the occasion, Headman Muzamani, Papazela Masivamela praised the involvement of health officials in the process, saying the procedure was now safer and less painful than before.
"The intervention of NAC, ministry of health and PSI has improved the whole experience. We would normally do it with knives and without using any anaesthetic," said Masivamele, admitting that many incidents of death would go unreported in accordance with the Shangani culture.
William Chauke, who was one of the graduates, praised the medical procedure as safe and painless, saying he had dreaded doing it in the past owing to the severe pain and trauma that would be involved.
NAC Provincial AIDS Coordinator, Evos Makoni said the surgical male circumcision process has proved to be safer than the traditional way of doing it. He said he was happy now that they were getting a breakthrough after facing tough resistance from locals when the idea was first proposed.
"We are happy with our proceedings because we have not received any reports of deaths since we started in 2009. Before this new approach, cases of deaths were reported at almost every initiation but it's now a thing of the past," Makoni said.
He however encouraged the circumcised males to abstain and practice safe sex saying circumcision alone will not stop anyone from contracting HIV/AIDS.
"Male circumcision only reduces the infection of HIV by 6o percent so we do encourage all men who have undergone the circumcision process not to take circumcision as a ticket to promiscuity," said Makoni.
The Shangani and Lemba cultures are the only groups with a history of circumcision in Zimbabwe but they have for a long time resisted government attempts to improve the practice, with their annual circumcision rituals largely shrouded in secrecy.news