With nearly 6,000 members, RestoringForeskin.org is a space for men to share their stories and tips on regaining what they see as part of their manhood. “As I started restoring my foreskin, I started changing,” says Tally, who believes that he’s now more in touch with his feelings as a result. “I noticed about eight to nine months after I started restoring, I felt emotions I never felt before.”
IN AFRICA, CIRCUMCISION is all the rage. It’s being touted as a way to help prevent the spread of STDs, especially HIV. Over the last few years, African men by the thousands have been rushing to get altered, oftentimes at the hands of amateur operators, leaving some with infections and botch jobs. However, like in the States, there are rising voices challenging the need for surgery. “Many African men are saying they believe they have a vaccine against HIV with circumcision and do not need condoms,” explains Russell. “It is doubtful that circumcision will make a man safe from disease or infections.”
While organizations like DOC are against childhood circumcision everywhere, many African countries are encouraging men to undergo the procedure. According to the World Health Organization, Kenya has circumcised nearly 290,000 men in the past three years. The government of Tanzania has announced plans to circumcise at least 2.8 million men over the next five years. Swaziland, which has the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world, plans to circumcise 152,800 men. A statement released by the U.S. embassy in Swaziland estimated that the circumcision plan there could prevent nearly 90,000 new infections and save more than
$600 million over the next decade.
Mugabo, 34, grew up in Kenya and took it upon himself to get circumcised as a teenager. “I woke up one day, went to a doctor in the ’hood and paid him to do it.” While his mother was out of town,
Mugabo, then 17, paid a friend’s father who was a doctor the equivalent of 50 cents to do the surgery. Mugabo’s family didn’t practice circumcision, but some of his friends did and he took notice. “Where I’m from we don’t even care about that,” explains Mugabo, a native of Rwanda. “But I grew up in Kenya, and in Kenya certain communities you got to [be circumcised]. There is no way around it.”
Pleased with his results, Mugabo, who now lives in New York, says he will also have his sons circumcised. He also supports the push for circumcision in Africa. “I would advocate it on a national policy level for local community reasons. You are a cleaner human being. I know, I’m a man, [for me] it’s not hearsay.”