To abstain or not to abstain? Durban talks about virginity


To abstain or not to abstain? Durban talks about virginity

Bongani Mthethwa | 2017-05-17 08:13:08.0

Image by: iStock

Is virginity testing okay‚ or is it a violation of human rights? That is the question that came under the spotlight during a social cohesion discussion hosted by the eThekwini Municipality on Tuesday evening as part of its preparations for its Social Cohesion Conference later this month.

The three-day conference will take place at the Durban International Convention Centre between 29 and 31 May and is preceded by a series of dialogues that seek to address various issues.

As part of that series‚ the eThekwini Municipality‚ under the auspices of its Parks‚ Recreation and Culture Unit‚ hosted a dialogue at the Moses Mabhida Stadium to explore virginity testing and its relevance in today’s society.

The dialogue also explored whether virginity testing was a violation of rights or a necessary practice to help preserve the nation’s cultural values.

Parks department head Thembinkosi Ngcobo told the audience that‚ as a municipality‚ he thought it was important to warn young girls about the dangers of falling pregnant at a young age.

“Our theme this year is black history and we’re looking at the things which were happening in the past to see whether what was good in the past cannot be brought back to preserve culture‚” he said.

As part of that‚ the municipality invited two virgins‚ who were part of the panel‚ to share their stories.

Ntombi Mabekebeke‚ 29‚ from Umlazi township‚ said she had had a vision which could not be “unpacked if I started engaging in sex at a younger age”.

“Coming from a poor background‚ I took a decision to abstain from sex because that’s the only thing that was going to enlighten me and connect me with God as well‚ because for me the whole idea of being a virgin was more about being close to God.”

Thandeka Mofokeng‚ also 29‚ from Lamontville‚ said she decided to protect herself from boys who are abusing women‚ especially young girls.

“As a young girl you must be proud of your virginity and preserve yourself until the right time for you to get married.”

Last month‚ the municipality hosted another dialogue‚ “Gays and Lesbians in the Black Community”‚ which heard that social cohesion would remain a pipe dream if society continues to marginalise the lesbian‚ gay‚ bisexual and transgender community.

Radio and TV personality Somizi Mhlongo praised the municipality for opening up the dialogue.

“But what is important is that our bad experiences be addressed where they are happening‚” he said.

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