Culture: South African Virgins Protest Over UN Call to Ban Virginity Testing
Hundreds of maidens marched to the office of Premier Willies Mchunu in South Africa on Wednesday.
They said they were there to show their anger over a UN statement last month calling for virginity testing to be stopped.
Thokozani Ngcobo (27) said the UN didn’t even consult them.
“We are here to send a message to the government that we will shut down South Africa if they ban virginity testing,” she said.
Slindile Ngobese (23) said she was part of the march to fight for her rights.
“We are here because it is our choice to participate in virginity testing,” she said.
Cultural expert and virginity tester Nomagugu Ngobese said they would continue with the practice.
“We appeal to other countries to stop interfering in our culture because we will resist and fight for what we believe is right.”
Ngobese said the UN should be focusing on serious issues like domestic violence, the distribution of condoms at school, teenage pregnancy, abortion and an increase in new HIV infections.
Siyabonga Mnqayi from the office of the premier accepted their memorandum.
“The premier is also championing social cohesion programmes.
“On his behalf, we accept this memorandum with warm hands and we promise the premier will make sure it reaches the hands of the president,” said Mnqayi.
Earlier last month, Three United Nations agencies called for an end to virginity testing globally at the World Congress of Gynaecology and Obstetrics in Rio De Janeiro in Brazil..
The UN’s Human Rights, Women and World Health Organisation say the practise is medically unnecessary, painful, humiliating and traumatic.
They said the examination of a woman’s private part is a violation of their human rights and in cases of rape, can cause additional pain leading to more trauma and re-victimisation.
The agencies called on governments, health professionals and communities to urgently eliminate this practice in their countries.
They also wanted laws banning virginity testing to be enforced and for communities to be educated about the myths related to this practice.
Virginity testing is a common practice in South Africa and in about 20 other countries. It’s conducted to determine whether or not a woman or a girl has had vaginal intercourse.