The KwaZulu-Natal mayor, who conceived a scholarship that would be awarded to vi_rgins only, now wants to put the scheme under a community trust.
This despite widespread condemnation from gender activists and political parties of the uThukela district municipality’s bursary scheme that awards bursaries to girls who had undergone, and passed, vi_rginity tests.
“We are currently looking at other ways of funding the maidens. There are many people who are keen to plough money into the bursary scheme targeting young girls who are virgins to further their studies after completing matric.
“We are receiving interest from other countries who want to fund the programme,” said uThukela mayor Dudu Mazibuko.
The bursaries, which were awarded to 16 pupils who were part of the matric class of 2015, have been condemned as discriminatory on women who are not virgins.
As a criterion, applicants need to be virgins and have to undergo testing to check whether they are indeed still virgins – each semester.
Critics who opposed the funding included politicians and gender rights activists, who claimed that virginity had nothing to do with the ability of a person to excel in their studies, submitting that some young women lose their virginity through rape.
Engagements are now at an advanced stage to put the bursary scheme under the uThukela Community Trust because the idea is supported by many in the community.
“Local businesses and the community raised concerns that the bursary was rejected unfairly, and they have since come forward to fund it from their own pockets,” said Mazibuko.
She said the Swazi royal house had also expressed its support for the idea and committed to contribute in enabling the bursary benefit more virgins.
Cultural activist Nomagugu Ngobese said this was a noble idea, where young women were being rewarded for staying pure until they become consenting adults.
“Research tells us that young women are at huge risk of contracting HIV/Aids.
“This bursary is one of the measures of contributing to the fight against Aids. Why is it not supported? Is it because it is a black thing [and] considered backward,” asked Ngobese.
Ngobese is the founder of uNomkhubulwane Cultural Group, which is aimed at nurturing young women by providing life skills and educational opportunities