Thousands of young South African women are tested every year to see if they are still vìrgins. While some see it as a cultural practice, others see it as degrading.
This ritual is practiced by the Zulu tribe of South Africa and is known as “Ukuhlolwa Kwezintombi”.
The Ukuhlolwa kwezintombi or vìrginity test has historically been considered an important social tool that brings pride to vìrgins, parents and the community at large. Twenty years ago, however, urbanization, industrialization, education and religious belief pushed the ritual to the point of near extinction.
In recent years, it has seen a resurgence in much of KwaZulu-Natal and townships to combat abuse of women, teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS.
Once again, vìrginity testing practice encounters a variety of views and sentiments, with some finding it valuable, while others finding it outdated and irrelevant. The vìrginity test is seen as a practice with cultural value, and the country is in the midst of an African renaissance.
In 2005, South Africa would ban the ancient Zulu practice of testing young girls for vìrginity, despite traditionalists vowing to ignore the new measure. A vìrginity-testing ritual involving the examination of young girls’ genitals has sparked an outcry from human rights advocates, who say it is an invasion of privacy and an affront to women. The actual test was done by hand in a secluded room. The girl being tested lies on her back with her lègs spread out.
The subject then opened her honeypot with both hands and looked inside, apparently to see if her hymèn was intact. If all goes well, the girl will receive a virginity certificate. A vìrginity-testing ritual involving the examination of young girls’ gènitals has sparked an outcry from human rights advocates, who say it is an invasion of privacy and an affront to women.
On the other hand, traditionalists see the practice as an integral part of Zulu culture and argue that it promotes sèx education while also preventing HIV/AIDS in a population where at least one in seven is considered HIV positive. National dissemination.
A true account of Norma Langa and Amanda, two women who underwent vìrginity tests
Nomalanga, 27, grew up in Sobantu, a small town in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Nomalanga recounts her vìrginity testing experience. According to her, “This is usually done in a room or an enclosed area, and the vìrginity tester will sit on a grass mat, wearing gloves. The woman or girl who comes to do the test will lie down with her lègs open.
The tester will then use the Open your honeypot with your hand in the vàginal opening (like when you zoom in on something on a touchscreen phone.) She’ll look in, obviously to see if your hymèn is intact, or if the sizè of the vàginal opening is affected by the Pen expanded! Amanda Ndlangisa, 26, also went through the process, a producer for a popular TV station. However, her vìrginity test experience was slightly different. “Some testers use liquid from a small cup Pour into the honeypot!
The idea is that if you’re still a vìrgin, only a fraction of the fluid will flow into your honeypot! But if your honeypot has been opened by sleeping with a boy, the fluid can easily flow in,” explains Amanda.
Meanwhile, for Nomalanga and Amanda, the vìrginity test is more than just checking for hymen or vaginal tightness. Amanda describes How these rituals are accompanied by singing, dancing, talking, and teaching from older women “about what it means to be a woman, about the need to have self-esteem, to be proud of who we are, and not to let men make us feel bad about ourselves. So good”.
Norma Ranga also revealed that she loves ritual and teaching. She especially remembers the reed dance as an exciting time for everyone in the Zulu Nation. This annual dance is held at Nongoma in the King’s Palace Held. There is an official vìrginity testing ceremony before this.
Therefore, human rights activists advocate for its abolition.