- Title: SOUTH AFRICA: Zulu virgins protest against South Africa's new Children's Act
- Date: 4th September 2007
- Summary: VIRGIN PERFORMING HIGH KICKS INTO THE AIR AS OTHERS SING AND APPLAUD
- Embargoed: 19th September 2007 13:00
- Location: South Africa
- Country: South Africa
- Topics: Domestic Politics,Lifestyle
- Reuters ID: LVA8EC53JEIEK5JCGUR8O6ISFPK4
- Story Text: Hundreds of Zulu virgins and their parents march to protest against South Africa's new Children's Act which allows children to buy contraceptives.
Hundreds of virgins and their parents took to the streets to protests against the controversial Children's Act in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday (September 1). The protesters expressed outraged at the Act, which will give children as young as 12 the right to buy contraceptives or get them from the clinic.
Previously a guideline stipulated that a child should be 14 years old.
Another new provision covers virginity testing, a practice that still thrives is some communities in Kwa- Zulu Natal. Such tests are now illegal unless the girl child is at least 16 years old and has agreed to be tested.
"This protest we are having here, it is about this law they implemented which we are against with, the law that promotes children to go for abortion from the age of 12 and saying that they can use contraceptives without their parents' consent, so, we are against that law because it is killing our culture in a way, and also promoting a high rate of teenage pregnancy and HIV," says 21-year old Zinhle Dlamini who's been performing virginity testing for the past six years.
Nomagugu Ngobese, a traditional healer and founder of the Nomkhubulwane Culture and Youth Development, has vowed to continue testing the young girls.
She said: "The government has gone too far at the expense of the parents.
The parents take care of these kids if they are ill and they bury them without the government's concern. It is ours, so, we are taking charge."
Nonhlanhla Phungula, one of the parents of a virgin on the march, agreed: "I'm a mother and I have a daughter, she's 12 years old, I would like to see my daughter growing up, finish school, be a virgin until she gets married," she said.
The new act will also allow any 12-year old to be tested for HIV/AIDS.
The government has lowered the age limit because HIV/AIDS is making many young children orphans. Therefore children will know their status as early as possible and will have the right to take anti-retroviral drugs. One of the most important amendments in the new Children's Act that children are now legally regarded as adults at the age of 18. Previously the age of adulthood was 21.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: Footage contains identifiable children: users must ensure that they comply with local laws and regulations governing the publishing of this material.