VIRGINITY TEST: South African girls queue for physical checks - CVIEW NEWS

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Tuesday, 8 December 2015

VIRGINITY TEST: South African girls queue for physical checks

VIRGINITY TEST: South African girls queue for physical checks
Some of the girls queue for the test


A group of girls dancing as they wait to take turns
A group of girls dancing as they wait to take turns

It was gathered that the age-long tradition involves girls joyfully queuing with just strings, traditional beads and colorful loincloths, which barely provide cover but expose their bare breasts. The check, it was learnt, is done by having a stranger check if their hymens are intact.
In the past, civil and human rights activists had advocated the abolition of the culture, describing it as barbaric, unconstitutional and unhygienic and violates the rights to privacy of the girls, but the tradition has yet to die in some rural communities as it is seen as a veritable and most effective way of curtailing the spread of teenage pregnancies and the deadly HIV virus, believed to affect one in 10 South Africans.
According to a former deputy head of the commission on a gender Equality, Phumelele Ntombela-Nzinande, “Those who are behind the comeback, say that if we test young girls to see if they are virgins they will be fearful and will not engage in sexual activity.” He continued: “We are arguing that this practice undermines the principles of equality, freedom and human dignity. It is difficult to tell whether or not a girl has had intercourse and after touching about 600 girls you can easily transfer infections.”
Girls between the age of seven and 26 lie on a mat in front of the woman doing the test, which only takes a few seconds. It is often carried out with bare hands and the tester seldom washes them. Girls who pass get white stars pasted on their foreheads and a certificate confirming their virginity.
“We have come here to celebrate and keep our culture going,” 16- year-old Brenda Mkhize was quoted as saying after her test. “It’s better to be a virgin than to have AIDS and have a baby at the age of 16…we don’t see any reason to sleep with a guy, and I think I will stay like this until I get married.”
Mkhize was one of hundreds of girls attending a virginity celebration at a sports stadium near Durban in December.
Afterwards, the girls sang and danced in traditional Zulu fashion.
“We are here because we are proud of ourselves, because we are virgins,” another girl said.
@Edited (Reuters)

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