There is a massacre of young boys in our country, right in the bushes behind our backyards. The murders are taking place under the banner of Male Circumcision that has been hijacked by a mushrooming of illegal circumcision camps.
Every year in South Africa, many boys as young as 9 years old, face grueling deaths and permanent disabilities from illegal circumcisions. Newspaper reports state that since May 2013; 27 boys died in Mpumalanga Province and 30 in the Eastern Cape, while about 300 others are currently in hospitals recovering from gangrene, septic wounds and dehydration. Some had lost their genitals.
These young people struggle helplessly under the knife, razor or spear by untrained hands in contaminated environments: Dying to be Men.
These are not complete numbers as many bush deaths go unreported. However these numbers are high enough to warrant a massive national outcry over this gross violation of human rights and mass killing of innocent children.
We need to remove all the cloaks this peril masquerades in: culture, botched circumcisions, illegal or criminal elements and whatever else we call it. For in reality this is a: A Massacre of Boys. A killing of helpless and unresisting human beings under circumstances of atrocity and cruelty. If we call it anything else and refuse to see it as bloodbath, then this evil will continue unabated.
If it is true that it takes a village to raise a child, then when hundreds of our children’s lives are at stake, the whole country should stand up and mobilise against the murder of boys whose only crime is that they want to be men. They want to be counted as responsible members of their communities and the future architects of our nation. They should not have to die for it.
Enough blood was shed for the liberation of our country. Our freedom does not need to be nurtured with an annual sacrifice of the blood of our young men.
Where are all the institutions that have been tasked with the protection of the vulnerable members of our society? Why are our safekeepers not rising up like an army and wiping out this murder camps? Is it that difficult to clamp out on this evil and come up with safer alternatives for ushering boys into manhood when we know a bloody history will keep repeating itself every year?
Our country is being robbed of precious lives full of potential and solutions for the challenges that will face their generation. Their untimely deaths spells the end of hope for many traumatised and guilt-ridden families. Moreover, what is it going to take to convince a boy who has lost his genitals to botched circumcision that he is man?
The murders of innocent children is an affront to our constitution and our collective humanity. We cannot continue to ‘permit’ unscrupolous people in our communities to abduct our sons for ransom and wield contaminated sharp objects to cull and kill the seed and the future of our nation.
It is our collective responsibility to end harmful and ‘deadly’ social and cultural practices gainst our children, as advocated in this year’s theme for the Day of the African Child, commemorated annually on 16th June.
Save our children!
In memory of all the young men who lost their lives and their manhood at the altar of botched and unlwaful circumcisions.