Mountain or Hospital: Circumcision is circumcision, period!

Tilo ngwana Rashaka Mokgopo

This is simple; let’s not complicate something made so easy for our interpretation.

Circumcision will always be circumcision whether it was done at a hospital or up in the mountain. At the end of the day, the foreskin is being cut off. So where is the difference there?

Our 4-5s (Daily Sun language. Let me credit them accordingly. Plagiarism is a serious offence, I was told) are being ripped off the foreskins, simple.

In 2005 when I was only 13 years old, I wanted nothing but to go to the mountain. I actually wanted to see myself traditionally circumcised. But my story was different, it wasn’t one of those “you are not a man until you’ve went up to the mountain.”

At the end of the day, being a man has different interpretations. Some would say if you are not from the mountain that renders you less of a man. Others would say unless you get married, take a wife and have children then you are not a man enough. Some think that gays have no rights under the sun to claim their manhood. Others will tell you that if you fail to provide for your family (which includes sexually satisfying your wife); you are not fit enough to be called a man. So what does it mean to be a man? People will die still wanting to prove that they are men enough. You’ll never satisfy all the prerequisite requirements of being a man.

Anyway, back to my story, I just didn’t want to be left out. Almost all the boys I grew up with went to the mountain that year. So why not me, I asked myself? I ran the idea past my mom and even though she did not support it, she found herself pressurized by my consistence to the extent that she had to act.

The problem was that my situation was very complex. There was no way under the sun I was gonna go to the mountain unless if I went by myself without letting anyone know. My father passed away in May that year and only one month later I wanted to go to the mountain which was totally impossible, actually prohibited in my culture.

My mother was still wearing black but me being a naïve little boy I didn’t want to see reason. To cut the story short, I was finally convinced not to go to the mountain and I settled down.

Only six years later when the idea of going to the mountain was my least favourite, I went to a hospital for circumcision. Painless! That’s how I would explain the whole process. Of course they first had to run the HIV test and after I was tested negative, they went ahead with the process. I don’t know whether they could have done the opposite had my result came back positive.

My two eyes were wide awake. I was actually watching them doing everything. What they were doing was not painful to me at all except for few injections at the beginning of the process. But because they took time to finish off, I got tired and bored from everything and at some point I was detached from the whole circumcision process.

When everything was done and sealed, I was back to the normal me. No funny walk and you couldn’t have guessed unless if I told you what had just happened to me. Of course I must admit that I had to battle with the pains every morning when I wake up, that was the only time I had pains.

Going back to my opening lines, take me (from the hospital) and my friend (from the mountain) and let us compare our sticks. We are the same, our glans lay bare without the foreskins and both of us have sixty per cent less chance of contracting HIV or sexually transmitted diseases during sexual intercourse.

What is the difference there? As far as circumcision is concerned, according to me, there’s no difference, we are all the same. Conservatives would argue that going to the mountain is part of preserving their culture. And if you come to think of it, they are actually not wrong and we should accept their decision. The same way liberals would tell you of doing a cost benefit analysis and weighing up the options and the one that appears to carry a lot of advantages would be their first choice.

I mean who would say no to recovering under the comfort of their roofs while watching DSTV and eating popcorns?


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