Aug 11 2009

Male circumcision in East Africa: new film

Category: Uncategorized<ADMINNICENAME> @ 1:21 PM

Today is the third anniversary of Africa Works, and I’m celebrating by trumpeting the arrival of a short documentary film about male circumcision rituals among the Bugisu in Uganda. The Bugisu live in the foothills of Mount Elgon and represent a powerful farming community with strong traditions. For a few years, I’ve been studying a Bugisu village, mainly to better understand agricultural issues in Africa. On one visit, last November, my videographer, a talented journalist from Kenya named Juliet Torome, departed from our usual observations in order to witness three days of a remarkable bi-annual circumcision ritual. Torome spent hours each day following around two young men as they prepared for circumsion and then underwent “the cut” before an audience of hundreds of their neighbors. Torome, with the help of a gifted American editor, Melanie Reynard, last month created a riveting short documentary, distilled from more than a dozen hours of video. Shot on a simple camera, the documentary gives a rare glimpse of living traditions. The film will be aired shortly on the educational station, KMTP.

One point highlighted by Torome’s documentary is the growing appreciation among public-health experts of the role of male circumcision in suppressing HIV/AIDs. The Bugisu rituals underscore the idea that Western medicine does not have a monopoly on the circumcision. Proponents of this technique as a means of reducing the epidemic would do well to remember the appeal of tradition in promoting cricumcision among men.

Comments are closed.