SETTING AN EXAMPLE: KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo prepares to perform a circumcision on former Generations star Melusi Yeni, who is the millionth man in the province to undergo the procedure.
DURBAN - KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo circumcised the millionth man in the province - and it was none other than KwaMashu-born Invictus and former Generations actor Melusi Yeni.

The circumcision exercise was part of a high-profile community outreach programme that was attended by King Goodwill Zwelithini, the Premier of KZN, Willies Mchunu, IFP leader Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi and a host of other dignitaries and partners in the health sector.

Yeni was circumcised at Sivananda Clinic, opposite the historic Ohlange High School, at Inanda, north of Durban, built by John Langalibalele Dube, the founder of the ANC.

“I’m pleased to become the one-millionth man to be circumcised in KZN. And I want to make a vow that I will continue working hard to encourage other men to get circumcised because the benefits are immense, and can go a long way in helping us curb the spread of HIV in our country,” said Yeni.

“Before the circumcision, I was a little nervous about the procedure itself, but it went well. I was in good hands. Dr Dhlomo is a consummate professional.”

Describing it as a significant milestone, Dhlomo said the big challenge for the province was to accelerate its efforts and circumcise another million men soon.

“We are very excited to have reached this milestone of one million circumcisions and no deaths, and wish to express our heartfelt thanks to our King, Isilo SamaBandla, for reviving this practice. If it were not for his call, we would not be where we are today,” he said.

“The challenge for Melusi now is to help recruit more men to get circumcised Once we do that, we will have significantly lowered the numbers of new HIV infections.”

Dhlomo was quick to warn that circumcision should not be used as a licence for sexually irresponsible behaviour, emphasising that being circumcised reduced the risk of HIV infection only by 60%.

The practice of medical male circumcision in KZN began in 2010, after a call by the king for the practice to be revived as a strategy to halt the spread of HIV infections.

Circumcision has been found by scientists to lower the chances of female-male transmission of HIV by 60%.

It also makes the male genitalia easier to clean; reduces the risk of acquiring some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) whether you are HIV-negative or HIV-positive; and it may reduce a man’s risk of penile cancer; and a female partner’s risk of cervical cancer.