Traditional male circumcision is regarded as a sacred, indispensable cultural rite of passage to many young South Africans. Each year, thousands undergo circumcision as part of their initiation into manhood.

Professor Kevin Behrens from the University of the Witwatersrand’s Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics says many of these initiates develop medical complications. Tragically, after circumcision, many require treatment for complications such as septicemia, gangrene, severe dehydration and genital mutilation.

In 2019, OHH, in association with Advanced Health Day Hospitals, started an initiative that provides an alternative to traditional circumcision, to boys needing the procedure as part of their heritage and culture.

A simple circumcision may seem like a small operation, but it truly makes a lasting impact on the young lives of patients who can now be proud of their traditions, while being sure of their safety.

The first ten circumcision patients were operated in June 2019, with another ten helped in July, during OHH’s Mandela Month campaign. Due to restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19, only 8 boys were able to be helped in 2020. However, these boys’ mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sister were also given the opportunity to have their health checked through our Women’s Clinic.

In 2021 (on 26 February as well as 8-9 March) we continued the tradition and were able to medically and safely circumcise 24 boys with this small operation that will make such a BIG difference in their lives.