Zulu monarch King Goodwill Zwelithini has lambasted those who charged young girls money to have their virginity tested, saying it was a "crime" and that he would deal with transgressors.
Addressing a Heritage Day celebration at KwaDukuza yesterday, Zwelithini said he had heard rumours that some testers around the province were charging the girls for inspections.
"I want to thank those that conduct virginity inspections because this is part of our history, our heritage and our custom.
"But I would like to warn those that are charging young maidens for inspections to stop doing it. If you know someone doing it, report them to me and I will take proper action," warned Zwelithini.
His warning comes after parents of a 14-year-old virgin, who was raped by five men at Nongoma after the Reed Dance ceremony, complained that the child did not receive her certificate despite having paid a stipulated R10.
Zwelithini also urged black historians and professors to dig deep into archives to unearth the real history of the Zulu nation, so that it could be published in place of the one that has been written.
"There are many lies that are written about us as a nation, like that King Shaka, who is my great grandfather, had murdered the queen. That is not true," Zwelithini said.
ANC president Jacob Zuma said his majesty was faced with the mammoth task of ensuring that the Zulu nation's traditions were respected as they had been before. He said the apartheid legacy made sure that it stripped Zulus of their traditions, customs and values.
"By so doing, our detractors left us crippled because a nation that has no tradition is a lost nation. They made us weak by teaching us that our traditions were those of barbarians," Zuma said.
Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi said the spirit of King Shaka had not forsaken the Zulu nation.
"We stand here today as we stood yesterday - strong, unified and proud. History has not forgotten us. Time has not defeated us, and the endless betrayals and broken promises that we have suffered through the years have not broken our spirit nor changed our identity," Buthelezi said.
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sbu Ndebele said that this year marked 180 years since the death of King Shaka.
"It is a year that ends with the magical number 8. As we ponder the history of our king, we recall some of the historic incidents that happened during the years ending with the number 8, some of which changed the course of the history of this region and province."
Ndebele said history would reveal that it was in 1818 that King Shaka, who had been raised by inKosi Dingiswayo kaJobe of the Mthethwa, finally defeated the powerful Zwide of the Ndwandwe, thus laying a firm foundation for the Kingdom of the Zulus.