HARARE - Popular musician Jah Prayzah and his Third Generation Band will have to slow down on shows after undergoing a circumcision procedure yesterday to protect themselves against the Aids virus.
The 26-year-old Population Services International (PSI) Zimbabwe circumcision ambassador, was circumcised yesterday together with six band members and close friend, Daniel Kapfumvuti.
Soon after getting the nip, Jah Prayzah — who broke National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) records on Saturday night at Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel after claiming an impressive haul of four awards — said his decision was influenced by many things.
“First and foremost, it is for my health, my wife and as an ambassador I thought I should live what I preach,” said the musician.
With a show this Thursday and at the 21st February Movement celebrations marking President Robert Mugabe’s 90th birthday, the adored lanky musician may fail to live up to expectations as he is medically required to slow down and allow his members to heal properly as well.
“I had not foreseen that, I have shows but anyway a soldier does not die,” said the musician during post-procedure counselling in Harare.
The surgical removal of the foreskin takes six weeks to heal. Jah Prayzah chose the PrePex device which takes seven weeks.
According to experts, the PrePex method involves a device being fastened around the male organ to starve the foreskin and is faster, bloodless and less painful than the other procedure.
Zimbabwe launched a massive circumcision campaign in 2009 targeting at least 1,2 million men by 2015 in a bid to stem the rise in new HIV infections across the country. But the deadline was extended to 2017.
Zimbabwe is carrying out a major campaign to circumcise about 80 percent of young men after a study found that the procedure reduced the chance of contracting HIV by 60 percent.
HIV rates prevalence in Zimbabwe is considered high at 13,7 percent of men aged under 49 but only 10 percent circumcised.
Karin Hatzold, PSI deputy country director, said right now, 10 000 people are being circumcised every month nationwide and were expected to increase to 20 000 in the near future.
“At this rate, we believe we will achieve the 1,3 million target by 2017,” Hatzold said.
“Apart from reducing chances of contracting the HIV virus, circumcision is good for hygienic purposes; it helps prevent cervical cancer, STIs and other penile infections. It is a cost effective one time procedure.”
According to Hatzold, it costs $100 to circumcise a single person. About 210 000 have surrendered their foreskins since 2009.
“It sounds like a lot but it includes everything including the campaigns. We estimate it will save Zimbabwe alone $1,6 billion by 2025 in HIV care,” she said.
Musicians Winky Dee, Suluman Chimbetu, Albert Nyathi, Fungisai Mashavave, disc jockeys Thabani Gambiza and Napster have been hawking the pro-circumcision campaign lines Pinda MuSmart and I did it, why haven’t you?
PSI says the number of men turning up for circumcision have been swelling since celebrities were roped in.