A South African mayor has come under fire from gender equality and human rights groups after it emerged that 16 girls were awarded university scholarships for remaining virgins at school. The ‘Virgin Scholarship’ was awarded in the Uthukela district in eastern KwaZulu-Natal and the mayor, Dudu Mazibuko, said that the scholarship is meant to encourage girls to be pure and focus on school. The girls have to undergo regular virginity testing to keep their funding.
Mayor Maibuko said
“To us, it’s just to say thank you for keeping yourself and you can still keep yourself for the next three years until you get your degree or certificate,” and that the scholarship will be renewed “as long as the child can produce a certificate that she is still a virgin,” [AP]
Several groups including People Opposing Women Abuse as well as the Commission for Gender Equality have voiced their concern about the scholarship being discriminatory and violating human rights.