Ngipheni from KwaMafunze in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa is a virgin at 64. She had to remain a virgin because that was the only way to participate in reed dance, a yearly dance/cultural activity for their king, Goodwill Zwelithini’s called umkhosi womhlanga. She has been part of the reed dance since she was a teenager.

“Before we go to the ceremony, our guardians test us to make sure that we are still virgins. This is because the ceremony is only for virgins,” she said.

Although still a virgin, Ngipheni said she has longed for sex before. “The only way I could deal with the longing was by remembering my parents’ advice. Longing for sex is natural if you are a human being.”

 She said during her younger days, she used to have many boys proposing love to her. “I wanted to remain innocent so I turned them down.” Ngipheni also revealed that she had a boyfriend once who later became her fiance.

“In our days our fiances never rushed us into having sex. They respected us. I separated with my fiance because he cheated”

Ngipheni added that she was happy that she’s safe from sexually transmitted diseases. She stresses that she is not saying young women should stay away from sex and marriage. “If you have sex do it responsibly. Do it after marriage. Once you are married, ask your partner to go for an HIV test before you engage in sex. This will reduce the number of people with HIV and teenage pregnancy.”

Ngipheni’s guardian, Zithobile Mbhele, said she has been working with her for more than 30 years. “She is a good influence on young women in the area. We are proud of her. She has never missed umkhosi womhlanga”” said Zithobile.

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