To take part in South African festival, circumcise

Durban: Believe it or not, men are allowed to take part in a South Africa harvest festival only if they are circumcised. This is an effort to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The annual "first fruit ceremony" involves a bull that is beaten to death in a sacrificial ritual. This year some 10,000 males participated and all of them were circumcised. The men came from the KwaZulu-Natal region.

This year`s event marks 20 years since the ceremony was revived by King Goodwill Zwelithini and one year since male medical circumcision was introduced in the province, government news agency BuaNews reported.

The king lays stress on medical circumcision as part of efforts to address the HIV/AIDS cases. Zwelithini again urged young men to live responsibly and continue the fight against HIV, poverty, drugs and alcoholism.

IANS