Study reveals male circumcision abuse

Johannesburg - Circumcision is supposed to be a rite of passage, but a new study by World Vision has confirmed the fears of many that some boys are subjected to abusive and bullying practices.

The charity's study, In the Name of Culture: Forced Initiation in Orange Farm South Africa, which was carried out in Orange Farm, south of Johannesburg, found that boys who do not go, or do not complete initiation, are picked on and excluded.

"For example, fellow students will take away their chairs and won’t allow them to use the school bathrooms unless they pay a fee," World Vision said a statement.

Paula Barnard, national director of World Vision SA, said society is not acting cohesively or fast enough to deal with illegal initiation schools.

''These boys get bullied and intimidated on a daily basis. Furthermore, those that have been circumcised at medical institutions are still stigmatised and not regarded as men,” Barnard said.

Researchers found that during initiation season parents hand over blankets, food and home-made beer "in the name of culture" and are charged between R1 000 to R4 500 a child.

They do not know where the boys are taken.

Some families are using the schools as a means of punishing boys, the study found. Children at illegal initiation schools are not fed properly, and are denied water, causing dehydration.

“The children also indicated that while in the mountains they are harassed and heavily assaulted with sjamboks. One of the children showed marks on his back demonstrating how he was constantly assaulted,” said the report.

The study found that the intimidation continues even if they have been rescued from illegal schools as it affected their school work, and often led to them dropping out.

''As a result of the forced initiation practices, Orange Farm's parents have come together to establish a forum to deal with abduction and subsequent abuse of their children,'' said Ernest Fraser, advocacy team leader at World Vision SA.

“Our concern, however, is this forum might be short-lived. Already people with hidden agendas have suggested traditionally cleansing the boys, once they’ve escaped or [been] rescued from the mountains, instead of providing them with proper medical care,” Fraser said.

South Africa needed to fast-track the formulation of laws that deal with illegal initiation schools as these schools leave the children vulnerable and threatened, said Fraser.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 1432 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 7908 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 1634 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.47
-2.2%
Rand - Pound
21.05
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
18.91
-0.2%
Rand - Aus dollar
12.09
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.1%
Platinum
974.02
0.0%
Palladium
1,623.95
0.0%
Gold
1,865.16
0.0%
Silver
22.35
0.0%
Brent Crude
79.94
-2.8%
Top 40
74,082
+0.6%
All Share
80,241
+0.6%
Resource 10
75,186
+0.7%
Industrial 25
103,461
+0.8%
Financial 15
16,550
0.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE