The recent edict by the Gender Commission that the bursary scheme that favoured chaste maidens was unconstitutional as it “placed too much of a burden on young women” is food for thought.

In a nation and province that has the highest rates of HIV/Aids infections in the world, a municipality took an initiative. To protect the ethical fibre of their culture, their society, improve the health and prospects of previously disadvantaged rural African girls, a female Mayor created a global storm.

What was required for success was that the women must protect their dignity. This by its very nature is difficult in a patriarchal society where we all know African women are triple oppressed. As if being black, poor and rural is not enough most women seldom have control over their bodies in a nation with one of the world’s highest rape statistics.

The African female Mayor of this rural community in my opinion was doing something to help her people. Ironically this is not how the BBC and CNN and the Gender Commission viewed the issue.

Question that come to mind is, why is so important to the international media that these poor, rural, African women not remain chaste, if that is what they choose until they have established themselves?

On what ethical authority did the women who serve on the Gender Commission judge the Mayor of that municipality and those beautiful young girls to find fault with their decision to remain chaste?

Also what exactly has the Gender Commission done to improve and protect the dignity of rural, poor, young African women over the past 20 years while they earned huge salaries for attending meetings?

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress


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