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The Herald (Zimbabwe)
September 09, 2005
Chiefs Nembudziya and Chireya in Gokwe North District have thrown
their weight behind the revival of virginity testing as a means
of discouraging premarital sexual activity and reducing HIV/Aids.
The two traditional
leaders follow in the wake of Chief Makoni of Manicaland who, a
few years ago, resuscitated the traditional practice of examining
young girls for chastity in his area for moral and health reasons.
directed headman in their chiefdoms to identify elderly men and
women to conduct the tests.
The fading traditional
practice, commonly referred to as "Kurukova", involves
the testing of girls at the puberty stage to ascertain their virginity
status and was broadly approved in rural communities where it was
Girls were taken
to a river where elders, using traditional skills passed from generation
to generation, established whether they had indulged in sex.
on a tour of the Midlands Province at Tsungayi Business Centre in
Nembudziya, Mrs Lizzy Chin'ono, a care-giver in the area, said elderly
women capable of conducting the tests would be assigned to carry
out the task.
behind the practice is to ensure that boys and girls enter into
marriage in a pure or chaste state," she said.
Some areas among
them Ward 6B, have already started conducting the tests. Local villagers
said virginity testing was the best way to ensure that boys and
girls do not engage in premarital sex, which exposed them to HIV
Province National Aids Council (NAC) Aids co-ordinator Mr. Emmanuel
Rubaya stressed that the tests should be conducted in a way that
ensured strict observance of children's rights.
Mr. Rubaya said
the tests should not be carried out in a dehumanising manner or
in a way that would expose the teenage boys and girls to the same
diseases they sort to curb.
on how it is done and what happens when one is found not to be a
virgin. Forcing them to go for HIV test is against their rights.
They have to go there on a voluntary basis," he said.
however, said the practice was meant to ensure that those who were
certified as virgins were nurtured to preserve that status until
they got married so as to break the vicious circle of HIV and Aids
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