Today's Big Stories

Gender activist slams municipality while KZN mayor defends 'virgin bursary'

Uthukela District Municipality mayor Dudu Mazibuko has defended the so-called “virgin bursary”, which sparked national debate around women's rights.

The controversial Maidens Bursary is awarded to young women in higher learning institutions, on condition that they can prove their virginity.

Mazibuko on Tuesday said that the bursary encourages young girls to keep themselves "pure" until they are ready.

Listen to the full conversation from The Midday Report with Stephen Grootes:

We don't make them virgins, but they have taken it upon themselves to remain virgins. For us, we are saying that we want to help you further your studies after keeping yourself pure right up to matric.

Dudu Mazibuko, Uthukela District Municipality mayor

We are saying (to the girls), please delay being sexually active... It's not really policing.

Dudu Mazibuko, Uthukela District Municipality mayor

If you look at the teenage pregnancy statistics in the country, they are shocking.

Dudu Mazibuko, Uthukela District Municipality mayor

They submit certificates to the municipality to ensure that they are reed dance attenders and are tested regularly for virginity.

Dudu Mazibuko, Uthukela District Municipality mayor

Meanwhile, gender activist Nomboniso Gasa explained that the policing of women's sexuality is not unique to African cultures, but rather, it is a function of patriarchal structures.

Listen to the full conversation from The Midday Report with Stephen Grootes:

There is nothing particularly African about the policing of women's bodies.

Nomboniso Gasa, gender activist and researcher

The problem here is that it is a government entity that chooses to require people's sexual lives as a motivation and part of their decision-making process.

Nomboniso Gasa, gender activist and researcher

Women's sexuality belongs to them and their bodily integrity and privacy is protected by the Constitution.

Nomboniso Gasa, gender activist and researcher

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