Inside virginity testing shrine

Veronica Gwaze
JUBILANT young boys are running up and down the dusty streets of Glen Norah B, waving white cloths.

One wonders why the boys are in such a celebratory mood.

Upon inquiry, the excited boys tell The Sunday Mail Religion, that they have every reason to be happy after passing virginity tests.

This practice, which some rights activists think borders on abuse of human rights, is still being practised at Guta RaMwari church.

The virginity tests are voluntary. Young boys and girls has been subjected to this practice since 1959 by church founder the late Amai Chaza.

The virginity tests are conducted at the Guta RaMwari shrine where Amai Chaza used to have healing sessions.

GRM spokesperson Gift Makawa said only ‘clean people’ were allowed into the shrine.

The clean include those not guilty of sexual immorality, drunkards and those past menopause.

“Amai Chaza introduced this system as a way of preserving the sanctity on the shrine.

“Despite being a church founder, she also valued tradition,” he said.

“The concept was not anything new when Amai Chaza introduced it but she was simply reviving something that already existed in the society.”

The Sunday Mail Religion last week spent some time at the virginity testing shrine.

In a house, in Highfield, sat one Mutumwa Cecilia Jacha, an elderly person responsible for the testing process.

Like sheep, young girls are led into a room where Mutumwa Cecilia make them lie on the bed and check if the girls are still virgins.

The testing involves just an eye check which lasts less than a minute.

“This is all we do when testing; we do not touch them, we do not insert fingers. No one is compelled to test; it’s voluntary,” she said.

A 28-year old lady who refused to be named for fear of victimisation, said there was stigmatisation in the society against those who were virgins in their late 20s.

“I have been testing since I was 13. It’s well accepted in church but some people in society think otherwise.

“Some people mock us because we are members of the GRM church. I dated a guy who was not a member of our church but he eventually gave up on me and now I am just waiting for someone from the congregation so that we understand each other.”

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  • Retius chifurira

    The report is not very thorough. I was expecting the reporter to seek more comments from religious leaders, traditional leaders, law experts and ministry of health and child welfare to produce a more balance report.