An In(ter)vention of Tradition: Medical Male Circumcision in KwaZulu-Natal, 2009-2016

An In(ter)vention of Tradition: Medical Male Circumcision in KwaZulu-Natal, 2009-2016

Author: 
Timbs, Liz
Place: 
Oxon
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Date published: 
2018
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Journal of Natal and Zulu History
Source: 
Journal of Natal and Zulu History Vol 32 No 1 2018 pp. 55-77
Abstract: 

This article explores the voluntary medical male circumcision campaign in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa from 2009 to 2016, situating this biomedical intervention within broader narratives of cultural tradition and traditional authority. Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini used narratives of tradition and authority to bolster his position as a modern monarch in an era in which the monarchy inhabits an ambivalent political role. This campaign demonstrates the intersections of Zwelithini's concerns with economic interests, provincial policymaking and national gender politics. To illustrate the deeply intertwined nature of this campaign with narratives of tradition, the article first tracks the narratives around the campaign constructed by Zwelithini and his supporters and compares those with the opinions and reactions of individuals throughout South Africa. The focus then turns to the gendered rhetoric promoted in the initiative, particularly to highlight the contradiction between these narratives and their interpretations by laypeople. The final section focuses on Zwelithini himself, tracking the challenges that he faced during this era and the ways in which he used the circumcision campaign to fortify his tenuous position.

Language: 
Country focus: 

CITATION: Timbs, Liz. An In(ter)vention of Tradition: Medical Male Circumcision in KwaZulu-Natal, 2009-2016 . Oxon : Taylor & Francis Group , 2018. Journal of Natal and Zulu History Vol 32 No 1 2018 pp. 55-77 - Available at: http://library.au.int/intervention-tradition-medical-male-circumcision-kwazulu-natal-2009-2016