The Herald (Harare)

20 September 2010

Zimbabwe: Fungisai Angers Fans

Harare — Gospel songstress Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave has courted the anger, and even contempt, of her followers after reportedly telling a local paper that uncircumcised men were "useless" recently.

Fungisai, who was speaking at a graduation ceremony of some Shangaan men who had undergone circumcision, said an uncircumcised male could never be considered a man.

Fungisai is a board member of the National Aids Council, which is promoting male circumcision as a way of combating the spread of HIV and Aids. She reportedly said: "I would like to say to men, you are not a man unless you are circumcised."

But many people interviewed by The Herald expressed outrage over the statement, saying as a celebrity she risked alienating some of her fans who do not subscribe to her religious or cultural views.

Tawanda Magunje from Chitungwiza said as a proponent of the practice, Fungisai should find ways of preaching her circumcision gospel without looking down upon other people.

"That was uncalled for," Magunje said. "I would want to ask in what respects she would say an uncut man is not a man considering that it is the same organ that determines someone's sex."

Others pointed out that it could only be those that had met both uncut and cut men who could be better informed as to who was really "a man" between them.

Newspaper reader comments and feedback have been unsparing over the past week following the "Makomborero" hitmaker's comments.

However, in a telephone interview Fungisai said people should "forget about my ethnocentric views" but focus on the benefits of male circumcision.

"I'm only human and I'm entitled to my own opinion," she averred, saying her statements should be read in the context that she is a Remba. "But circumcision is good for the body just like food to the body. "As a Christian I'm not saying it will make you go to heaven but it is what God prescribed for his people of Israel," she said.

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