HIV TESTS - WHAT'S NEXT FOR OPRAH'S GIRLS - VIRGINITY TESTING?
Then, some jealous brothers, whose long-suffering parents are probably still alive, bitch that these potential-filled orphan girls will become coconuts and lose their culture. Who is there to teach them their culture? The villages that are supposed to raise these children are clearly not doing their bit. So at the point where these girls are in their lives, there’s not much of a culture to lose, is there? The most we can hope for is that they resurrect what little remains.
Coconut. I know that name – it was mine for a while (and, for the record, it’s not Oprah’s fault). You know what’s really sad about being a coconut? Your parents would rather marry you off into a higher echelon of society than support your ‘deep’ endeavours, and your culturally savvy peers don’t take you seriously coz o godile ka cheese. There’s no winning if you’re a coconut. If you’re successful, people say it’s coz you got a head start. If you’re not, people say it’s coz you were spoonfed and now can’t handle the ‘real’ world.
I’m still trying to get my head around the culture bit as an African she-person.
Most African girls have their culture thrust upon them, in absentia, during lobola negotiations. For a couple of decades and some, African girls, with little or no assistance (and a lot of opposition), are completely responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of their vaginas. Then, one day, when a man decides he wants exclusive rights to it, a bunch of uncles (who never call on sick days, birthdays, exam days and first period days) get to transact over this vagina.
Then, there is the comment about virginity testing, along the lines of ‘if they make them take HIV tests then they should also take virginity tests’ – the Oprah girls, if you’re not following. Ahh, the VGT – how overrated virginity is. The value placed on it by society is just a patriarchy tool for keeping women ‘in their place’. I have a suggestion – if men want virgins, why don’t they stop fucking the world out of them? Virginity is a male issue. Instead of unsuccessfully guilting girls into keeping something that neither they, nor their potential sexual partners want to maintain, we should give them the tools to negotiate successfully around sex because, as it stands, female sexuality is personally political and politically personal.
O‘ksalayo, our baby sisters need our support because Oprah’s, as great as it is, is clearly not enough.