South African Women Awarded Bursary for Being ‘Virgins’

A young KwaZulu-Natal woman says she never thought remaining a virgin would open so many doors for her.

The 22-year-old from Estcourt, a farming town in the UThukela district, was one of 16 women who received bursaries from the district municipality because they were still virgins.

The Maidens Bursary Award aims to encourage young women to stay sexually inactive and focus on their education.

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The second-year pharmacy student at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in the Eastern Cape, who asked not to be named, said she approached the municipality last year because her family did not have money to pay her tuition fees.

 "The day I went there, they were awarding bursaries. The next day I received a phone call to bring my results and they told me to come to the municipality. I was surprised when I got a call from the municipality saying that they would pay for my school fees."

When she heard about the municipality's Maidens Bursaries this year, she applied and received one.

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"They asked me if I was a virgin and if I tested regularly and I said yes. I am proud to be a virgin, I did not know it could open so many doors for me. I did not know I could get something out of it."

She said she got tested during the June and the December holidays, when she went home.

 "I do get tempted to have sex, but I have seen things happening in this world and I don't trust men."

The test involves lying on a grass mat for an elderly woman to examine her.

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 "They open the vagina and look, but they don't insert anything in it. I have never heard of them getting it wrong."

She said she did not mind doing regular tests.

"My father has two wives and he is already struggling to cope. There are three of us at home. This motivates me to do well and give back at home. When I finish my studies I am going to give back by helping other pupils in my hometown."

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She warned girls that falling pregnant prematurely would ruin their lives. They should put their education first.

 Another woman who received the bursary said she did not bow to peer pressure and have sex. The 21-year-old University of KwaZulu-Natal student said she was happy to have received the bursary.

"This has helped me pay for my outstanding fees and I will be able to continue with my third year and get my degree."

She encouraged other women to apply for the financial assistance.

"Young girls should take control of their lives and it is never too late to change their lives for the better and make a success out of it."

Another recipient, 19, said she was studying at the University of Free State with the help of the bursary.

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By Amanda Khoza, News24

Source: News24

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This article has 8 Comments

  1. Comment taking from FB promotion of this article by Admin:

    Lianne Mulder
    Does it work the same way for boys and men too? Or are only the women being sexually policed?

    1. Simba Simba
      I am not sure. But I am thinking in this instance that the incentive is directed at the girls. I have heard of Virginity Schools there where they take the act of sex very serious for more than what we ascribe to it here in the west. I am seeing that the girls already made that choice on their own influence and are in this way being rewarded for it. So I would not call it policing as such. As women are the foundation of the society and the first teachers it would be logical to focus on the woman as they will teach their sons as well as their daughters. And what virginity test can be done on men? How does one tell if a man is a virgin or not?

  2. Lianne Mulder
    Well, in most cases, you need a boy and a girl for the act of sex to happen. So why should girls be rewarded for being virgins, but not the boys? Haven’t they also chosen to not have sex?

    If it’s only focused on girls, then it is a form of policing of female sexuality, while at the same time leaving the boys to do what they want to do. That is sexism.

    And about the virginity tests: Even on women you cannot test it with 100% accuracy.

  3. Simba Simba
    So what scholarship when applied for requires no testing? Are you saying encouraging early abstinence from sex is wrong? If this were extended to boys it would be seen as policing? I never said test were accurate and from how it sounds it is done in relation to their culture. So we would have to find out how virginity is seen in that culture. So you would say have a virginity school for girls is sexist? I see in the article one girl made her choice to be a virgin due to family conditions. Then she found out about the scholarship and applied. Again I ask 100% or not how we test boys?

  4. Lianne Mulder
    I have applied for many scholarships in my life and I’ve never had to open my legs for any testing to be done. Would you like it if your son wants to apply for a scholarship and he has to drop his pants first, for a doctor to examine his private parts?

  5. Simba Simba
    Were you tested based on the scholarship you went for? That was the question? Why would you have to open your legs for a music scholarship? If my daughter was applying for a scholarship that was based on her virginity I would expect she would be tested in that manner. So I am not sure what you are saying there? If my son was going for a sports scholarship I would not expect that test but I would expect he would be tested on football.

  6. Why is this campaign simply focusing on young women/girls to remain virgins? Do they get pregnant by themselves or via immaculate conception? Why does it not also focus on young men to also remain virgins?

    In short, it is not simply “young girls who need to take control of their lives” but the patriarchical society of “sugar daddies” and attitudes that legitimates that it is acceptable for young men to sleep around and be considered a “stud” and sleeping around a rite of passage, whilst a young girl gets a reputation of being “easy” and/or a “slut” as well as the prospects of being impregnated or ending up with HIV/AIDS, which needs to be challenged and erradicated.

    As the placard in the article sums it up: “Virginity testing is an affront to women’s dignity.”

  7. Cassandra Denise Mines
    Sounds like population control. Maybe too many young women are getting pregnant without also getting married and they are trying to stem this so that the government is not left providing for children that can’t get support from the father’s.

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