Zim food shortages halt initiation ceremonies

Reports say 2,000 boys & young men from the Shangaan community were due to be circumcised.

FILE: Food shortages in Zimbabwe are on the rise. Picture: AFP.

HARARE - As food shortages worsen in some parts of Zimbabwe, authorities have had to cancel an annual circumcision ceremony in the south-east of the country.

Reports say around 2,000 boys and young men from the local Shangaan community had been due to be circumcised to mark their passage to manhood.

The so-called hoko, or circumcision ceremony, takes place each year in August in the Chiredzi and Mwenezi districts of Masvingo, in remote south-eastern Zimbabwe.

However, this year official reports say it's been cancelled.

Southern Zimbabwe suffered devastating crop losses due to poor rains earlier in the year.

Aid agencies warn food insecurity will become critical between now and September.

A government official in Masvingo, Evo Makoni, told the state-run Herald that many Shangaan communities are grappling with food shortages.

He says there isn't enough food to sustain the hundreds of youths during their month-long stay in circumcision camps.