The time honored barbarism of killing young (South) African men in that traditional practice of circumcision has again yielded a decent crop of dead men in South Africa. Reportedly about 150 young men died in circumcision ceremonies (or as a result of their participation) between the beginning of 2008 and the end of 2009. So-called traditional healers (elevated to a profession under the able guidance of the late Dr Beetroot, the former South African health minister and arch AIDS denialist Manto Tshabalala-Msimang) are frequently involved in botched circumcisions, causing so substantial numbers of avoidable deaths. The opposition DA party suggests that the actual circumcision should take place in a hospital. Now that's a thought.
Of course, there will be those who say that circumcision is always wrong, and - my own preferences to the contrary notwithstanding - there's some truth in that. The thing is though, since we have fairly strong evidence that circumcision dramatically reduces the risk of catching HIV there's probably a public health argument to be had - in Southern Africa - for undertaking circumcisions. Wouldn't it be nice though, if authorities in that country managed to have them conducted in such a way that not so many young men needlessly lose their lives over them?