Alice Ruziwa
THE ancient Zulu custom has been brought into disrepute, as Jacob Zuma’s bride to be, has been lashed out for selling her virginity to the highest bidder, as well as maintaining secrecy to Jacob Zuma (a father of 23 children with 15 different women), who by then was South Africa’s president.

Founder of Nomkhubulwane Culture and Youth Development Organisation and revivor of virginity testing, Nomagugu Ngobese claimed that it was an ‘insult’ that Nonkanyiso Conco (24), a former massage-parlour owner, who had been visiting Nkandla compound since she was 19 years old, claimed to be the director of the organisation.

On April 12, Zuma turned 76, the same day Conco was set to become Jacob Zuma’s 7th bride. Conco was ready to settle with the former president, who is 52 years, her senior.
Nomkhubulwane has principles. Ngobese propounds that one must introduce her boyfriend and if he (boyfriend) is paying lobola, one is given company when getting married, but will also have to get tested before getting married. It’s a mockery to the Zulu culture. Testing should also go on and on, until a couple gets married.

Virginity testing known as, ‘ukuhlolwa kwezintombi’ is a very important rite of passage to womanhood in the ancient Zulu tradition. Though this practice was neglected, by the previous Zulu kings in 1984, it was revived by King Zwelithini.

It is usually done in spring, where a lot of young girls gather at the king’s Enyokeni royal palace in Nongoma for the declaration of their virginity, where they are taught about purity, before marriage. Conco was also one of the girls from Pietermaritzburg who went to Nongoma on a yearly basis to declare her purity. Ngobese was her mentor, back then, before she (Conco) left Nomkhubulwane three or four years ago and there were claims that during the 2014 general elections, a political party recruited Conco in a bid to woo young girls for votes.

Ngobese was surprised after receiving numerous phone calls from reporters, inquiring about her directorship of Nomkhubulwane, as news filtered in various media outlets that Conco was getting married to Zuma, and that she allegedly claimed to be the director of Nomkhubulwane, despite her being a mere participant, who left the organisation and later got pregnant before marriage.

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