News & events


Challenges facing traditional male circumcision in the Eastern Cape Province

12 November 2015
12:30 - 14:00


Dr Anam Nyembezi & Dr Mbuyiselo Douglas (Population Health, Health Systems and Innovation (PHHSI), Human Sciences Research Council

Date:  12 November 2015

Time: 12:30  – 14:00

Venue:    VCRs, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of DST.

In recent years there has been a wide coverage in the South African media about the issues of hospital admissions and deaths of initiates undergoing initiation rites and traditional male circumcision in the Eastern Cape Province. To address this, the Eastern Cape Legislature promulgated a law, known as Application of Health Standards in Traditional Circumcision Act No. 6 of 2001, which regulates traditional male circumcision. This legislation provides for the safe conduct of circumcision by governing over its practices, processes and human resources. For example, a prospective initiate must be 18 years or older, obtain permission from parents or family guardians and undergo a mandatory pre-circumcision medical examination by a medical doctor. Additionally, the traditional surgeon and guardian are required to obtain a written permission to perform circumcisions and care for the initiates. Final permission to conduct a traditional circumcision has to be granted by the medical officer of a designated location.
Nevertheless, the incidence of illegal traditional circumcisions which lead to complications, such as hospital admissions, amputations and deaths remain unchanged in the Eastern Cape. The Eastern Cape Department of Health reported that a total of 5035 initiates were admitted to hospitals, 214 penises amputations and 453 died between June 2006 and June 2013. This situation has led to growing concern on various stakeholders such as traditional leaders who are the custodian of this rites of passage, politicians within the Eastern Cape provincial government, opinion leaders, non-governmental organisation, community based organisations and local communities.
The HSRC invites you to be part of a discussion that will critically discuss the challenges facing traditional male circumcision in the Eastern Cape Province.

This seminar may be attended via video conference in Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban

RSVP by 11 November:

Cape Town: Carmen August (021) 466 7827,   12th Floor, Plein Park Building, Plein Street, Cape Town; 
Ridhwaan Khan (031) 242 5400,   1st Floor, 750 Francois Road, Ntuthuko Junction, Pods 5 and 6, Cato Manor;
Pretoria : HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Ms. Valerie Fichardt on 012 302 2420 or email her at Ms. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail: , or  Ms Isabel Magaya,, Tel: 012 302 2420