Virgin at 30: Does It Matter

Virgin at 30: Does It Matter

Purity: Nozipho Ntshingila at her umemulo - a Zulu traditional ceremony to celebrate the life of a virgin above age 21. Nowadays it can be done for any Zulu maiden coming of age

She is 30 years old and has never had sex. Yes, she has been in relationships, but knew where to toe the line. “Kisses happen, holding hands and caressing, and that’s how far it can go,” explains Nozipho Ntshingila. Oops, she prefers to be referred to as Princes Nozipho Ntshingila. She highlights that she is of a royal family from Swaziland.

Any partner that might be in a hurry to put his hand in the cookie jar is dumped. It happened before. “A man should appreciate a woman who is willing to wait until they are married.”  Besides, dating is not her priority. “My focus is on my studies and career,” she informs. Nozipho has BA Marketing Communication Degree from University of Johannesburg.

Zulu maidens: Nozipho Ntshingila (middle standing) at a reed dance in Kwa Nongoma in KwaZulu-Natal

This reed dance maiden is thankful to be free of any sex-related disease, and that she doesn’t have a child out of wedlock. “The money that the government spent on ARVs and social grant should be invested in education, provision of sanitary towels to young girls, economic growth and the empowerment of young people; not on grants to 16-year-old mothers.” Her choice was inspired by her upbringing, spirituality and culture.

This is what Ma Fikilephi Gamede(67) is instilling in young girls in Soweto. She does virginity testing, with consent from parents. Her encounter is horrifying. “There are six-year-old infants who are sexually abused. This is from experience, not theory,” she assures.

Principal: Ma Fikelephi Gamede does it for the love of children

Ma Gamede volunteers at a local clinic. “There are 14-year-old girls who come to the clinic, pregnant. Children have nowhere to run to,” she says pitifully. She says the maidens are taught how to take care of themselves, and advises parents of those who have been violated.

“While we prioritize education, we re-connect these kids with their culture. Cemeteries are full of young children who died of HIV/AIDS because they involved in sex before marriage,” she laments. She has more than 70 maidens whom she regularly test for virginity and teaches them about the ways of their tradition and culture.

Ma Gamede rebukes the constitution for giving children unlimited rights. “If you barge in a child’s room you can be charged with invading their privacy. These people (politicians) copied the West and enshrined their ways in our constitution.” She emphasises that she is a staunch Christian and culturist.

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