Circumcision is practiced by almost all groups in West Africa. In the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, it usually coexists with excision except in the matriarchal societies forming a band across southern Africa between Angola and Mozambique. These societies practice neither circumcision nor excision. Further south, in the southernmost region of the African continent, circumcision practices are explained partly by the migration of patriarchal Bantu societies from equatorial regions.
African circumcision is performed on older children and involves a relatively stereotyped ritual consisting of the following elements in succession:
• seclusion of the initiate, isolation from women and “unclean” children;
• wearing of special costumes;
• and sometimes the adoption of a new name marking the child’s true birth.
YouTube has an interesting documentary about African circumcision called “To Become A Man - South Africa”:
Male circumcision is one of the world’s oldest surgical practices; carvings depicting circumcisions have been found in ancient Egyptian temples dating as far back as 2300 BC.
In recent months, the issue of male circumcision and its links to the transmission of HIV has hit the headlines and sparked debates across the world. Trials in Kenya, Uganda and South Africa have now all shown that male circumcision significantly reduces a man’s risk of acquiring HIV.
According to a new study, circumcised men are more resistant to STDs, with the process lowering one's chances of herpes infection by 28%, HPV infection by 35% and HIV infection by 60%. The study took place in Uganda, where the population is battling an AIDS epidemic, but circumcision advocates say the same benefits apply to Western men, and claim that the controversial procedure should be recommended for infants here.