A South African mayor named Dudu Mazibuko from Uthukela district of the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province has awarded college scholarship to 16 young women not for their excellence in academic performances or extra curricular activities but for their ability to abstain from sex and remain a virgin.

Reportedly this scholarship was introduced to encourage others to be pure and focus on school, spokesperson, Jabulani Mkhonza of the mayor told sources of .Mic.

Students selected for the scheme have already received virginity tests as part of an annual Zulu ceremony | Source: BBC/AFP

The young lasses who applied for the scholarship had agreed to stay virgin and underwent a regular virginity test so that their funding may not be hindered, Mayor Mazibuko said during a radio talk show in South Africa.

"To us, it's just to say thank you for keeping yourself and you can still keep yourself for the next three years until you get your degree or certificate," Mazibuko said.

The grants get renewed when the child can produce a certificate that she is still a virgin and the scholarship is focused on young women because they are more vulnerable to exploitation, teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, the Associated Press mentioned in their report.

Nearly 20,000 cases of pregnancies were reported in South Africa's department of basic education in 2014. 223 girls were pregnant when they were still in primary school, the South African Broadcasting Corporation reported, as mentioned by ANI.

Representational image | Source: Reuters

"I think the intentions of the mayor are great but what we don't agree with is giving bursaries for virginity. There is an issue around discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, virginity and even against boys. This is going too far," said chairman for the Commission for Gender Equality Mfanozelwe Shozi, sources of BBC reported.

Many activists have made their protest to ban the virginity test in South Africa calling it to be a sexist and invasive move. The ones who are defending the cultural practices have said that it preserved traditions and was mordernised to teach girls on reproduction, HIV and AIDS.

( Feature image source: Representational image/ Reuters)