AFRICA

South Africa initiation schools suspended after circumcision deaths

By Pumza FihlaniBBC News, Johannesburg

The South African authorities have suspended several initiation schools where boys have died in recent weeks taking part in circumcision ceremonies.

The country’s religious and cultural commission said the schools in different areas of the Eastern Cape would be suspended for a year.

It called for the arrest of those responsible for at least 20 deaths.

The initiation into manhood involves spending weeks in mountainous areas in harsh conditions.

Why do people get circumcised?

Every year, tens of thousands of initiates aged between 15 and 17 spend time in seclusion in the bush where they are taught about how to be upstanding men in society.

But exactly what happens there is kept a secret.

Ukwaluka, or traditional initiation, is seen as a necessary part of the passage from boyhood to manhood by some of the country’s largest ethnic groups, including the Xhosa and Ndebele

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