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South Africa: Reach manhood and die

May 30, 2013

Two ‘rites of passage’ for the price of one.

South Africa’s health minister says traditional male circumcision rituals have been “hijacked” by people looking to make money from the rite of passage, fuelling a spike in deaths of young males.

Police have reported that 34 young men have died in recent weeks in two provinces during rituals to mark the passage into manhood at so-called initiation schools in the bush…

“Then mutilations and deaths started rising year by year until we are at this point”, which he said was reaching crisis proportions.

South African boys from ethnic Xhosa, Sotho and Ndebele groups typically spend around a month in secluded bush or mountains areas for their initiation.

This includes the circumcision carried out by traditional surgeons — sometimes using unsterilised instruments or lacking in technique — as well as lessons on masculine courage and discipline.


So you tell them: “Guys, this is really stupid, OK?” and they don’t do it any more, right?

Sorry, just my little joke. But isn’t even one unnecessary death a ‘crisis’?


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