Three EC initiates die while undergoing rite of passage

It’s believed the deceased are aged between 14 and 17 years old.

FILE: This follows the hospitalisation of nine other initiates in that province last week from complications following circumcision. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Just four days into the initiation season, three Eastern Cape boys have died while undergoing the rite of passage.

This follows the hospitalisation of nine other initiates in the province last week from complications following circumcision.

It's believed the deceased are aged between 14 and 17 years old.

Eastern Cape Traditional Affairs spokesperson Mamnkeli Ngam says the department was alerted to the deaths after sending officials to the initiation school.

"While monitoring the schools they were informed that initiates had died in two different areas. At the moment we are unable to divulge the details around their deaths until we have received the post-mortem results."

Earlier this month, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs said new regulations proposed to govern initiation schools could see the use of modern medical practice to minimise injuries while women would also play a greater role.

Sixty thousand young boys undergo traditional circumcision across the country every season.

Over the past few years, interventions by the health department have seen the number of fatalities decrease.

Government said the proposal is aimed at streamlining standard medical practice with cultural norms.