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Changing to Stay the Same? The Re-Invention of Virginity Testing in South Africa

Louise Vincent, Dylan Edwards, Cate Bereton


Along the banks of the Umzimvubu River in the former Transkei1 several hundred girls wearing only skirts and coloured beads follow a group of eight older women through the burned veld to a circle of green grass. Once they reach the designated spot they take off what little clothing they are wearing and form a queue, waiting for their turn to be inspected. Our vantage point at the top of a hill overlooking the valley makes it difficult to make out exactly what is being done, but we are able to make out the woman who is performing the inspections this is relatively easy since she is the only clothed figure in a mass of naked bodies.

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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