Hwange men are reportedly shunning going for voluntary male circumcision amongst wide spread rumours in the District that the foreskins are being used for ritual purposes.
Rumours are spreading like a bush fire in the Matabeleland North District that some unscrupulous elements within the Ministry of Health centres doing the circumcision are selling the foreskins to nyangas for use in varied sex related traditional medicines and rituals.
According to sources within the health centres the nursing staff performing the medical procedure are not disposing off the fore skins as stipulated but collecting them and selling them to traditional healers from as far afield as Binga and across the Zambezi in Zambia. The foreskins are reportedly selling for as much as $50 per "piece". The nursing personnel are reported to be making a killing as more men are hidding to the calls by the Ministry for men to come forward for free circumcision.
Recent medical tests have revealed that male circumcision reduces the risk of HIV transmission considerably resulting in a lot of men responding resoundingly to the call for circumcision. The Ministry of Health has unveiled a programme in all the districts of the country where men have free circumscision.
Speaking to Bulawayo 24, several men from Hwange confirmed that they are no longer eager to do the operation as the rumours of the ritual use of their foreskins spread. Some men claim that what even makes them sceptical of the whole exercise is that the medical personnel at the health centre refuse to give the men their foreskins for personal disposal.
"Am not going to donate my flesh for ritual purposes and not get anything for it am sorry," said one Clifford Kumwenda.
In a separate interview a herbalist from Nguminja Township of Hwange town confirmed that the men's foreskins are used for ulunyoka an African herb used against a promiscuous partner.
"The foreskin is used for lunyoka on a married woman who sleeps with another man," she said.
"The herbal mix works in various ways the worst being sticking the two immoral partners together until the husband of the wife is compensated heavily."
Another Sangoma claimed that the foreskin is used to make a concoction which is consumed by men to enhance their performance in bed. She also claimed that "women of the night" use a dried and treated foreskin to rub on their private parts to attract customers.
"The male foreskin is in huge demand for sexual enhancement for both men and women and traditional healers are prepared to pay any amount for them as they also fetch handsomely on muti prepared using it," claimed the Sangoma.
In another revelation, the Sangoma claimed that the foreskin is also used to make muti for livestock to reproduce more. According to the sangoma the muti is administered on both the male and the female animal to enhance their sexual cycle.
"If administered on animals the muti increases the animals' sex drive to that of human beings and so get involved continuously there by giving them more reproduction."
A ministry of health official at Lukosi Hospital dismissed claims that health officers at the centre were selling the foreskins to traditional healers referring reporters to the Ministry of Health Officials at the District Medical Officer's Office for an official statement.