Bukusu circumcisers prepare knives for August cut despite uncertainty

They say the exercise can go on with only the circumciser and the one being initiated

Bukusu circumcisers address journalists at Liyabo village in Kwanza Sub County. Photo/Aspect News

Circumcisers from the Bukusu community have carried out a knives cleansing ritual in readiness for the August circumcision rite despite efforts to have the exercise postponed over Covid 19 containment measures.

The circumcisers who converged at the homestead of Leonard Walusuna at Liyabo said they had to appease the ancestors through the cleansing ritual despite there being uncertainties on whether the exercise would be postponed to 2022.

“We had to cleanse the knives for the sake of emergencies since one cannot circumcise if he has not subjected his tools of trade to the rite. We want to be ready for any eventuality,” Mr. Walusuna said.

They said even if the exercise might be postponed, some parents may choose to have their teenage boys evade the ceremony that precedes the initiation called Khuminya due to crowding restrictions imposed by the ministry of health.

“Circumcision cannot be postponed entirely as proposed by our colleagues from Bungoma County. We can still circumcise those willing without having them go through ceremonies,” said Mr. Matesto Wabomba, a circumciser.

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They have requested for a sitting with the Trans Nzoia county Corona Virus emergency response team to seek approval to be allowed to carry on with the cultural rite with the right health protocol.

According to the Bukusu cultural calendar, the rite can only be performed during odd years which are reserved for activities associated with the living.

Other rites performed in such years are siselelo (courtship), Siteekho (marriage) and eng’anaana (determination of bridal wealth).

Odd years are reserved for activities associated with the dead such as Khukhala kimikoye (cut links with the dead), khuuya (moving the shadow of the dead, smearing the grave (Khumala silindwa) among others.

Hospital circumcision which has been fast gaining traction within the community owing to religious, health and economic factors is expected to gain more momentum this year owing to the circumstances.