An effort to encourage safe sex before tens of thousands of South Africans celebrated the 100th anniversary of the continent’s first liberation movement has backfired with the recall of 1.35 million condoms.

The health department of the Free State province distributed the condoms for free in hotels and bars before the African National Congress party’s centenary celebrations in Bloemfontein earlier this month.

Soon after reports flooded in that the condoms broke or were porous during intercourse.

The condoms were quality tested by the South African Bureau of Standards before distribution.

South Africa has the world's highest number of AIDS victims at 5.6 million.