If you ever wonder why the rest of the world gives us the odd disdainful look here’s your answer, because the fact that this goes on in 2016 (and gets shared all over the world removed from any cultural context) shows we have some way to go.
A mayor in the UThukela District Municipality in KZN granted 16 bursaries to female matriculants to fund their tertiary education, although he attached some rather outdated clauses to said bursaries.
Included was the provision that the recipients would undergo virginity testing every holiday with this below from TimesLive:
[Municipality spokesperson Jabulani] Mkhonza said the bursary was UThukela District Mayor Dudu Mazibuko’s idea.
“Sixteen of these bursaries went to the girls for still being virgins. However, in order to keep their bursaries, these maidens will have to undergo a check-up every holiday. If they lose their virginity, then the bursary gets taken away,” Mkhonza said.
He said the bursaries were intended to encourage young girls to stay pure and focus on their education.
Then there’s this from TeenVogue:
“To us, it’s just to say thank you for keeping yourself and you can still keep yourself for the next three years until you get your degree or certificate,” Uthukela Mayor Dudu Mazibuko said in a statement. The scholarships will be renewed annually “as long as the child can produce a certificate that she is still a virgin.”
Whilst some applauded the initiative a large majority were opposed. Here’s professional counsellor Yolande Bird:
[She] said the process might be traumatic for young women. Some of them could see it as an invasion of their privacy.
“The continuous testing can cause undue stress on these young girls,” she said.
Bird said it could be unfair on the young girls to be forced to undergo tests regularly.
“What if you are raped during your first year? It is not fair because someone would have forced themselves on you. What happens then?” she asked.
In a country with such alarming statistics regarding sexual assault that’s a very valid point, and whatever happened to the freedom to govern your own body?
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