In most modern day societies a chastity belt only really exists in metaphoric terms, but in years gone by it was used as an actual physical deterrent to prevent women from having sex, either to remain faithful to their husbands while they were away, or to ensure that they remained chaste until marriage. The same principle applied to Zulu culture and is still practiced today by some of the more traditional families. When a young man first spends the night at his girlfriend’s homestead, the young girl will wear multiple layers of skirts in order to prevent the boy sexual access to her. She may also wear a number of undergarments and ask for the lantern to be turned off when she goes to bed, making it difficult for her boyfriend to see anything.
Click on the link below to read more about this Zulu ‘chastity belt’ as well as other stories that Neli wrote during the month of March:
- Ukuvakasha okokuqala kwesoka kubokantombazane (Traditional expectations when a man visits her girlfriend for the first time)
- Izindaba Ngezipoki (Legends about ghosts)
- Izigaba Zokukhulliswa Kwengane Yentombazane (Stages and customs associated with a girl child)
Photograph courtesy of Gutenberg.org