Some initiation schools closed in Africa, young men dying due to circumcision



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Some initiation schools closed in Africa, young men dying due to circumcision



Authorities in South Africa have temporarily closed several schools of initiation in which several boys who participated in the circumcision ceremony have died in recent weeks.

The State Religious and Cultural Commission has announced that schools in various areas of the Eastern Cape will be closed for one year, as at least 20 deaths have occurred recently.



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Initiation into adulthood traditionally in this region is undergone by male children who during this ritual reside in difficult conditions in mountainous areas for weeks, BBC reports.

Why initiation?

Each year, tens of thousands of young men between the ages of 15 and 17 spend several weeks in a remote and uninhabited area where they are taught how to become a man. It is not known exactly what initiation rituals look like, it is kept secret.

Some of the largest ethnic groups in South Africa, including Xhose and Ndebele, go through Ukwaluka, a traditional initiation that is considered a necessary transition from childhood to adulthood.

But sometimes things go wrong and some young men die from bleeding after circumcision. Last year, hundreds of boys were taken to hospital where they were treated for penile amputation, infection and dehydration.

Pruning season

There are two cropping seasons in South Africa, in June and December. Then most of the boys are on school holidays and have enough free time to go through the initiation ritual, which can take up to a month.

They go to the initiation schools, where they are looked after by the traditional “ingcibiji” surgeons and the traditional “ikhankathe” caregivers.

Some initiation schools closed in Africa, young men dying due to circumcision

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