Reed dance: ‘There’s pressure to have sex but I’m happy to abstain’

2013-08-31 15:29

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To Nobuhle Khumalo (18) and her 17-year-old sister, Nothando, being a virgin makes absolute sense.

The two teenagers from Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal, and two of their sisters are among the estimated 40 000 young women and girls who have descended on King Goodwill Zwelithini’s Nyokeni Palace for the annual Umkhosi Womhlanga (Reed Dance Festival).

Nonthando, one of two twins in the family, wants to be either a pilot or a doctor when she finishes school.

A self-confident, smiling teenager who is in Grade 11, she acknowledges the pressure as a youngster to have sex.

Abstinence, she says, is “great”.

“This is my fourth year coming here,” she giggles. “And I’m going to keep on coming here year after year until I’m ready. There is pressure from peers to have sex but I’m happy to abstain.’’

Nobuhle said she attended the festival to both celebrate her own chastity and “be an example to others that we can live as young women and girls without having sex early in our lives”.

Nothando, who’s “going to be either an astronaut or a lawyer’’ when she grows up, is in Grade 10.

“I came here to celebrate my purity and my youth. I am celebrating my self-respect and my respect for others. I and the others here are showing that we can be what we are,” she said.

Nothando, a first-timer at the reed dance, was particularly excited about he experience.

“This is so cool. I’m loving this. I’m coming back next year again,” she said.

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