(Xinhua) -- At least 23 people have died from botched
circumcision during the summer initiation season in South
Africa, authorities said Wednesday.
The deaths occurred despite the “Zero
Deaths” campaign launched by the government, the Department of
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs said in its
latest update on initiation deaths during the summer initiation
“Despite government’s interventions,
these tragic incidents seem to persist,” department
spokesperson Legadima Leso said.
Most of the deaths were reported in
bogus initiation schools, according to Leso.
He said government-dispatched teams
will continue to monitor the situation across the country
throughout the current initiation season.
“We are urging communities, especially
parents, care givers or legal guardians to play their part
and support our zero deaths approach during this initiation
season - enough is enough,” said Leso.
The message should be clear that those
who use the important cultural practice of South Africa to
enrich themselves have no place in the communities, Leso said.
“Let us all alert the authorities
about bogus initiation schools and those that abduct our
children, thus disgracing this important part of our
tradition,” he added.
Circumcision is often viewed a sacred
practice in African cultures, marking a male’s transition from
child to adulthood. According to the tradition, young males have
to be circumcised as the passage to manhood.
In winter and summer initiation
seasons of 2015, approximately 101 initiates lost their lives,
most in the Eastern Cape, and in the last 10 years there has
been an estimated 1,000 penile amputations.