The man has made a rapid recovery since undergoing the ground-breaking surgery in South Africa three months ago, and is able to pass urine, achieve an erection, orgasm and ejaculate. Doctors describe him as feeling happy and healthy.

The man underwent his catastrophic circumcision when he was 18. The procedure is carried out in parts of South Africa to mark the transition from boyhood to adulthood. With grim irony, however, he was left with just 1cm of his manhood remaining when it all went horribly wrong.

But the tragic story of the cruellest cut had a happy ending after surgeons in Cape Town performed a nine-hour operation to attach a donated replacement penis. The transplant has been deemed a big success, although it is expected to take two years before full sensation returns.

The operation could provide hope for dozens of young South African men who are maimed every year when traditional initiation ceremonies go wrong. One of the surgeons, Andre Van der Merwe, told the BBC: “Many of these young men when they have penile amputations are ostracised, stigmatised and take their own life. If you don’t have a penis you are essentially dead; if you give a penis back you can bring them back to life.”

Penis transplants have been attempted before. One operation in China went well, but the penis was later rejected.

And American man John Wayne Bobbitt had his own penis reattached in 1993 after his wife, Lorena, cut it off while he slept. The severed organ was retrieved from a field, packed in ice, and reattached during a nine-and-a-half hour operation.