Experiences of young Xhosa men who undergone medical male circumcision in the Western Cape.
Silimfe, Zola Melody.
MetadataShow full item record
The provision of medical male circumcision (MMC) in public health facilities was introduced as a strategy to curb the high rate of new HIV infections in South Africa. However, in the South African context, traditional male circumcision (TMC) is practiced across different tribes as a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood. Unfortunately, TMC has been associated with high numbers of deaths among young men attending local initiation schools. While TMC and MMC differ in terms of surgical procedures, both procedures are for the removal of the foreskin. A significant difference between the two procedures is the fact that TMC is linked to an age old cultural practice that serves as a rite of passage to manhood, while MMC is mainly meant to decrease the risk of HIV infection in heterosexual men. This research study investigates Xhosa men who opt for MMC instead of TMC. It aims to understand their knowledge of MMC and factors that influenced their decisions to opt for MMC and its related social and masculinity negotiations. This study will elucidate the complexities within which these men view MMC and ‘[negotiate their masculine and cultural identities. The methodology adopted is qualitative, to provide a rich, in-depth understanding of the phenomenon being studied. A total of 9 Xhosa men who have undergone MMC in the past two years were recruited to participate. The men were 20-29 years old at the time of the study, and resident in Cape Town. Semi-structured individual interviews were used to explore the men’s understandings of their masculine and cultural identities in relation to their decision to opt for MMC. The participants reported that health benefits and access to health care systems were among the main influences that prompted them to opt for MMC. Social media played a huge role in providing information on MMC and influencing young men to opt for MMC. The Brothers for Life campaign was one of the most effective campaigns that assisted to reach out to men and encourage them to get circumcised. The use of public figures leading the campaigns did have a positive impact on people. The challenge that the young men experienced was that within the Xhosa culture circumcision is a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood. Participants described the reactions of family and friends to their decision as varied. Some participants experienced discrimination from their family members based on their decision to opt for MMC.