OJPM  Vol.4 No.9 , September 2014
Twentieth Century Wanzams among the Asante People of Ghana: A Historical Study of the Facts on Male Circumcision
ABSTRACT
This paper studies the history of circumcision amongst religious and traditional societies and the arguments on the medical or non-medical essence of the practice. The paper further highlights amongst the Asante people of Ghana, a practice argued to have been introduced by Islamic Wanzams who are severally referred to as Muslim Circumcision Surgeons. Often circumcision amongst communities in West, Southern Africa, Asia and other Aboriginal groups has been spurred on by customs and traditions [1]. Yet the case of Asante was different. Hence attention has been paid to the history of circumcision amongst the people of Asante. More significantly, the health implications associated with circumcision surgery in Asante have been highlighted. Possible benefits from the practice of circumcision and the potential dangers associated with it, especially the operations of the Asante circumcision surgeons (Wanzams) have been amply scrutinised in the narrative. In the conclusion, attention is paid to some of the scientific arguments for male circumcision. The study is purely qualitative relying on documentary and non-documentary sources. Some of the documentary sources have been gleaned from journal articles, news papers and books etc. The non-documentary data have been sourced from interviews. Both the documentary and non-documentary sources have been thematically pieced together to form a social history of medicine narrative which has potential ramifications on the essence of male circumcision by Wanzams, as well as the need for further research, training and dialogue in the practice in Ghana and Asante in particular.

Cite this paper
Adu-Gyamfi, S. and Adjei, P. (2014) Twentieth Century Wanzams among the Asante People of Ghana: A Historical Study of the Facts on Male Circumcision. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 4, 730-739. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2014.49083.
References
[1]   Dunsmuir, W.D. and Gordon, E.M. (1999) The History of Circumcision. BJU International, 83, 1-12.

[2]   Doyl, D. (2005) Ritual Male Circumcision: A Brief History. Journal of Royal College of Physicians, 35, 275.

[3]   Kaplan, G.W. (1977) Circumcision: An Overview. Current Problems in Pediatrics, 7, 1-33.

[4]   Guthrie, R.B. (1974) Why Circumcision? Pediatrics, 54, 362-364.

[5]   Appiah, V. (2006) “Wanzams” for Refresher Course. 11 February 2006.

[6]   Waszak, S.J. (1974) The Historic Significance of Circumcision. Obstertics and Gynecology, 7.

[7]   Rizvi, S.A.H., Naqvi, S.A.A., Hussain, M. and Hasan, A.S. (1999) Circumcision: A Muslim View. BJU International, 83, 13-16.

[8]   Mustafa, A., Ahmed, T.V.N. and Persuad, S.F. (1987) Rules for Cleanliness in Islam. Presented at The 1st International Conference for the Scientific Aspects of the Quran and Sunnah in Islamabad, Pakistan.

[9]   Weiss, C.A. (1962) Worldwide Survey of the Current Practice of Millah (Ritual Circumcision). Jewish Social Studies, 24, 30-48.

[10]   Copland, J. (1997) Pollution. Dictionary of Practical Medicine. 4 vols, Longmans, London, 1844-1858.

[11]   Bland-Sutton, J. (1870) Circumcision as a Rite and as a Surgical Operation. BMJ.

[12]   Whelan, P. (1977) Male Dyspareunia Due to Short Frenulum: An Indication for Adult Circumcision. British Medical Journal, 2, 1633-1634.

[13]   Herrera, A.J. and Trouerntrend, J.B.G. (1979) Routine Neonatal Circumcisions. American Journal of Diseases of Children, 133, 1069-1070.

[14]   Paige, K.E. and Paige, J.M. (1981) The Politics of Reproductive Ritual. University of California Press, Berkeley.

[15]   Thesiger, W. (1964) The Marsh Arabs. Longman, London.

[16]   (2003) Astonishing Indifference to Deaths Due to Botched Ritual Circumcision. SAMJ.

[17]   Maier, D. (1979) Nineteenth-Century Asante Medical Practices. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 21, 63-81.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0010417500012652

[18]   Donkoh, W.J. (2007) Legacies of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in Ghana: Definitions, Understanding and Perceptions. In: Anquandah, J.K., Ed., The Trans Atlantic Slave Trade: Landmarks, Legacies, Expectations, Sub-Saharan Publishers, Accra, 308-309.

[19]   (2008) Interview with Mohammed Fuseini and Mustapha Fuseini. Aboabo, Kumase, 19 February 2008.

[20]   Appiah, J. (1996) The Autobiography of an African Patriot. Asempa Publishers, Accra.

[21]   Samwini, N. (2006) The Muslim Resurgence in Ghana Since 1950: Its Effects upon Muslims and Muslim-Christian Relations. 38-39.

[22]   McCaskey, T.C. (2000) Asante Identities, History of Modernity in an African Village, 1850-1950. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, the International African Institute, London, Indianapolis University Press/International African Library, Bloomington and Indianapolis.

[23]   Forson, P. (2006) Circumcision and HIV/AIDS. The Ghanaian Times, 13 October 2006.

[24]   Özdemir, E. (1997) Significantly Increased Complication Risk with Mass Circumcisions. British Journal of Urology, 80, 136-139.

[25]   Price, C. (1997) Male Circumcision: An Ethical and Legal Affront. Bulletin of Medical Ethics, 128, 13-19.

[26]   Constitution of the Ghana Psychic and Traditional Healing Association (1963) Correspondence between the Ghana Psychic and Healing Association and the Asantehene. 3 August 1963.

[27]   (1928-1947) Manhyia Archives of Ghana, Kumase, MAG 1/17/6, Medical Hospital File.

[28]   Dagher, R., Selzer, M.L. and Lapides, J. (1973) Carcinoma of the Penis and the Anti-Circumcision Crusade. Journal of Urology, 110, 79-80.

[29]   Dodge, O.G., Linsell, C.A. and Davies, J.N. (1963) Circumcision and the Incidence of the Carcinoma of the Cervix: A Study in Kenya and Uganda Africans. East Africa Medical Journal, 40, 440-444.

[30]   Osipov, V.O. Balanoposthitis.
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1124734-overview

[31]   Callender, G.W. and Willet, A. (1965) Brief Notes of the Surgical Practice of the Hospital. St. Barts Hosp Rep. 1, 35-62.

[32]   Green, E.C. and Dupree, J.D. (1993) Indigenous African Healers Promote Male Circumcision for Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Tropical Doctor, 23, 182-183.

 
 
Top