Back off our culture - Zulu virgins
ABOUT 200 maidens yesterday showered their monarch, Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, with praises for reviving virginity testing and "sticking to it even when it was criticised".
The bare-breasted maidens from Buffelsdraai outside Verulam, north of Durban, danced in jubilation after undergoing testing by qualified virgin inspectors. Those who passed were later awarded certificates for their purity.
"As Zulus we are not forced to do it because it's our culture and we are proud of it. We thank the king for reviving it. We abstain from sex to protect ourselves from diseases, unwanted and unplanned pregnancies," said 21-year-old virgin Mbali Ngcobo
"Those who are against virginity testing and claims that it's immoral and violates our rights don't know what they are talking about.
"Actually, they must show us one maiden who complains about it - or come to us and ask how we feel ... and we will tell them that they must back-off.
"It helps teach us to respect ourselves, our bodies and to love ourselves by remaining pure until we reach the age when our bodies, spirits and minds are ready for sex and its consequences."
Nomthandazo Khubisa, 22, said it was their right not to have sex. "By undergoing virginity testing we are exercising our right to our culture. Nobody should tell us otherwise," she said.
Nunu Ngcobo, a well-known virginity inspector, said not a single child was forced to participate. "Frankly, they are the ones who encourage us to do it.
"People must understand that when we conduct tests we are not merely checking if the child has had sex or not. We go beyond that. It involves a lot more, like teaching them to respect their parents and not to fight with their schoolmates."
She said they were very understanding and when they find out that a girl is no longer a virgin, they call her mother and inform her of what they have found.
"But this remains confidential between myself, the child and her mother."
Thandiwe Luthuli, chairwoman of Izintombi Zemvelo, said before they established the organisation in 2009 girls as young as 12 were falling pregnant "like it was in fashion".
"We have since seen a significant drop in child pregnancy," Luthuli said.
ANC councillor Nondumiso Ndlovu said: "It's our culture ... this is one of the cultures that need to be preserved otherwise we will continue having illegal abortions and unplanned pregnancies, straining government child support grants,"