Africa

S. African mayor awards scholarships to virgin women

A South African mayor has awarded college scholarships to young women for remaining virgins.

Uthukela Mayor Dudu Mazibuko told South African talk radio station 702 that the young women who applied for the scholarships voluntarily stayed virgins and agreed to have regular virginity tests to keep their funding.

Spokesman for the mayor's office Jabulani Mkhonza said Sunday that 16 women have won the grants.

Mkhonza said Mazibuko introduced the scholarship this year to encourage young women to remain focused on school. Uthukela district in South Africa's eastern KwaZulu-Natal province awards scholarships to more than 100 promising high school and university students from the area each year.

Chairman for the Commission of Gender Equality Mfanozelwe Shozi criticized the scholarship criteria as discriminatory and said they went "too far."