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Zulus Eagerly Defy Ban on Virginity Test

Though the attire was traditional, modern South Africa was also on display. Some girls text-messaged as they danced past the king. Banners pitching cable service flapped near the large white tents where a speaker proclaimed that chastity is "a precious diamond in today's material world."

Nearby, Mhkize and three of her friends stood with their arms around each other's necks, which were encircled by white bead necklaces.

"Yes!" the girls, ages 14 to 18, said in unison, when asked if they liked virginity testing. They, like their elders, were adamant about the ban.

"They didn't come up with it," said Andile Mahaye, 16, a tall girl who aspires to be a movie director. "So why should they stop it?"

"It's like they're encouraging us to get pregnant," Mhkize said.

"It could just be that they don't give the Zulu culture dignity," Mahaye said.

But they hesitated when asked what it would mean, and what might happen, if their reeds had broken.

"I really don't know what to believe," Mahaye said.


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