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A simple action such as signing a campaign has translated into over 17,000 signatures of ordinary citizens who are against the Maidens Bursary Scheme initiated by uThukela District Municipality Mayor, Dudu Mazibuko. Despite this overwhelming number, Mayor Dudu Mazibuko has waited for the media storm to subside, but we need to reminder her, the Municipal Manger, and the Chief Financial Officer that we won't stop until they act. We know that uThukela District has the highest number of reported cases of abuse against women, and we cannot allow this bursary scheme to continue with its discriminatory criteria.

The Maidens Bursary Scheme, which requires that recipients undergo virginity testing not only to receive it, but also every holiday to ensure they are not sexually active [1] must be done away with. Virginity testing is an invasive, flawed, traumatising and sexist practice, that has no bearing on whether or not women should be granted bursaries. Add your voice to support women’s rights. We can't let women’s access to education be determined by traumatic, invasive process that strips away women’s control over their bodies.

Together, we can ensure that public funds are not used to discriminate against women and uphold systems that keep women oppressed and unequal in the society in which we live. As our elected leaders, we must demand the uThukela District Municipality immediately scrap the criteria used to award these young women bursaries.

[1] Virgin bursaries. Amanda Khoza for Timeslive. 22 January 2016.