- Dr Mmampho Gogela-Smith has written a thesis on Xhosa traditional circumcision
- Xhosa men often consider it inappropriate for women to discuss traditional circumcision
- She said this prompted her to undertake research on the subject
A female academic at the Walter Sisulu University has boldly taken on the controversial topic of Xhosa traditional circumcision in her thesis.
Dr Mmampho Gogela-Smith submitted her thesis on the topic, known as Ulwaluko in isiXhosa, as part of her political and international studies doctoral degree at Rhodes University.
Her thesis is titled: Perceptions of ulwaluko in a liberal democratic state: is multiculturalism beneficial to AmaXhosa women in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa?
According to a statement by WSU, Dr Gogela-Smith's thesis explores the intersection between culture, gender issues and politics.
Dr Gogela-Smith said her decision to research the topic was inspired by her experience in teaching Lifestyle Management. She explained:
With regards to the HIV/AIDS module in the course, I observed that any attempt to discuss circumcision as a possible risk-reduction measure for HIV infection was met with a strong objection and open hostility from Xhosa men, and sometimes complete withdrawal.
This is because male students felt it was inappropriate for women or young boys to discuss traditional circumcision.
The academic said she was also influenced by her experience as a single mother at the time.
Additionally, the lack of research on how women felt or perceived traditional circumcision influenced her to explore the subject.
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