An edict by the king of the Zulus to bring back circumcision for thousands of teenage boys is causing alarm in South Africa, amid record numbers of deaths from the traditional manhood ritual.
On Tuesday, at a meeting called in Durban by the government of KwaZulu-Natal, traditional leaders in the province will outline how they wish to implement King Goodwill Zwelithini's decision to reintroduce circumcision 200 years after it was scrapped by King Shaka. But health officials working with South Africa's second largest tribe, the Xhosa – who never gave up the practice – say the move could put thousands of lives at risk.
"We have had a disastrous year, with 80 deaths, including two suicides," said Sizwe Kupela, a Xhosa who is health spokesman for the Eastern Cape. Each year, 50,000 Xhosa boys descend on the vast province to undergo the secretive ritual –
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