36 S. African teens die from circumcision

July 8, 2009 at 1:10 AM

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, July 8 (UPI) -- At least 36 teenage boys have died recently in circumcision ceremonies in South Africa, a rite of passage to manhood especially for the Xhosa tribe.

The deaths have occurred in the Eastern Cape province, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported. Some of the boys have bled to death and others have succumbed to hypothermia or dehydration.

In one horrifying case, a teenager got gangrene in his penis, which fell off.

The circumcision rituals are traditionally carried out in winter with handmade stone tools. After they are circumcised, the teenagers live in the mountains for several weeks while they heal.

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