ANC distressed over initiates' deaths

2013-07-07 22:05
Gallery  |  click on thumbnail to view larger image

Xhosa initiation ceremony

Xhosa boys continuously mark the transition from boyhood to manhood with an initiation ceremony followed by a time of isolation. See these pictures from Qunu.

Johannesburg - The deaths of at least 30 youngsters who died as a result of circumcision-related injuries in the Eastern Cape was "distressing," the ANC said on Sunday.

"The African National Congress is deeply distressed by the news of yet more young lives that have been tragically cut short in their prime through botched circumcisions," spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.

"Authorities can no longer pay lip service to dealing with this disaster that afflicts our nation during the traditional initiation season."

So far, 30 initiates in the province have died from circumcision-related injuries, the provincial health department said.

In the most recent case of botched circumcisions during the initiation season, ten initiates were rescued from a forest in Mbizana on Sunday, said departmental spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo.

"The ten initiates' private parts are rotten. They are badly damaged. Their condition is scary."

He said the initiates were recovering in hospital.

A total of 293 initiates are currently in hospital in the province recovering from dehydration, gangrene, and septic wounds.

Some have lost their genitals.

The ANC appealed to traditional leaders, medical personnel, government and communities to work together to halt this "senseless and unnecessary loss of life."

Those who are mandated with the livelihood of the young men must be provided with basic medical training and accredited in order to identify early warning signs of imminent danger, said Mthembu.

"There has never been a greater urgency to act than now...our nation cannot wither and be dealt such a blow of losing the young who have so much to offer to their families and our nation as whole."

Read more on:    anc  |  jackson mthembu  |  culture

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