11 die in bungled circumcisions and manhood tests in South Africa

June 26, 2014

At least 11 young men have died during tough rites of passage ceremonies in South Africa in recent weeks which include often bungled circumcisions by traditional medics.

Dozens die every year and scores of others lose genitals when local surgeons perform the circumcisions, the government said on Thursday.

The rites of passage ceremonies start around late May. Teenagers from certain ethnic groups spend about a month in secluded bush or as part of their initiation to manhood.

This includes a circumcision as well as lessons on masculine courage and discipline.

Many die from infection, exhaustion and dehydration, while hundreds are hospitalised, according to official figures.

Over 100 died last year, Traditional Affairs Minister Obed Bapela said in a statement on Thursday, although this was a huge drop from 2010 when 419 youths died.

It was not immediately clear how many had died this year as a direct result of their .

"We call for the countdown to zero fatalities in initiation schools," said Bapela, adding that only qualified and registered traditional surgeons should perform the circumcisions, and only at approved facilities.

Dozens of people are currently being investigated in relation to last year's deaths, according to prosecutors.

Explore further: US urges circumcision for soldiers to fight HIV in Africa

Related Stories

23 dead in initiation rites in South Africa

May 17, 2013

(AP)—Twenty-three youths have died in the past nine days at initiation ceremonies that include circumcisions and survival tests, South African police said Friday.

SAfrica: Initiation deaths a problem, doctor says

July 28, 2013

(AP)—This is a grim time of year for a hospital in the rolling hills of South Africa's Eastern Cape province, where mattresses are laid on floors to cope with the stream of young men with severe injuries from botched circumcisions ...

Recommended for you

Sustaining biomedical research: Med school deans speak out

May 27, 2015

Cuts in federal support and unreliable funding streams are creating a hostile work environment for scientists, jeopardizing the future of research efforts and ultimately clinical medicine, according to leaders of the nation's ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.