Indigenous knowledge is an important part of human culture which is transferred verbally from generations to generations. “Africans who still practices indigenous knowledge can understand, handle and maintain these practices better than those who perceive western practices”. ( Warren, Von Liebanstaein & Slikklerveer, 1993). In this essay I will bring forth my arguments about moral role that virginity plays in one’s life, comparisons and contradistinctions between African and Western perspective will be highlighted and form basic sources of my arguments.
Concepts of virginity can be seen in all aspects of life, an individual is regarded a virgin when or she has not engaged in sexual intercourse, however the value of one’s virginity differs according to culture and religion.
Traditional African worldview
This worldview is based on the African cultural beliefs, practices and values. Chanetsa (2010: online) state that, in African culture , a young female is forbidden from engaging in sex prior to marriage, if it happens that she engage herself in such activity, she is considered to be a shame to herself and family. Africans judges virginity based on gender, in females, virginity is associated with worth, honor and purity, whereas in Males is seen oftently as a conquest.
In a modern societies that are western, virginity is not idolized. The choice of when to dispose the virginity lies solely with the women even whom to give the virginity, not the culture’s. The perspective of virginity in a bride is not considered, in fact most men do not expect their wife’s to be virgins. The western society disregard the concept of staying a virgin until marriage, in this society, they use similar standard to judge women and men, common standard such as education are used to weigh the value and worth of men and women in a marriage.
my perspective on virginity is that, they way in which Africans perceive this issue, is biased and tend to only favour male counterparts, the reason being that, Africans when it comes to valuing and evaluating the virginity, they tend to be more strictly on females and lenient on males, for example, when a female is realized to have lost her virginity before marriage, during the negotiations, her is calculated to be less, whereas it is not the case with Males, whether a male is marrying being a virgin or not, that does not affect the negotiations, in fact it is not even considered. Virgin brides are more expensive in the market of marriage (Schlegel), as opposed to those with sexual practice, this results to some families using the virginity of their daughter as a strategy to appear on a social ladder.
The children’s act no 38 (Act no 38 of 2005) allow virgin testing to be done on both male and female children but in practice it is only practiced on girls, which is gender injustice. The
South African Human Rights Commission states that South Africa has placed a very high premium on the issue of virginity of girls, especially for marriage purposes.
Saying that sex is just a social construct and that “it’s human nature to create meaning from the seemingly meaningless” is clouding the impact that premarital and casual sex has on society. I am not implying that everyone should be virgins and that people who already lost their Virginity are horrible people, but there is a reason why people abstain from having sex. It is not because women perceive men will like them more, or because they have abstained so long that they are just too afraid to have sex. Being a virgin is something one can be proud of.