Ukuhlolwa Kwezintombi –
Zulu Virgin Test
& Reed Dance

Ukuhlolwa Kwezintombi –
Zulu Virgin Test
& Reed Dance


A few years back, I read in the Los Angeles times about Scholarships being awarded to 16 female university students, with the  condition that then keep their virginity….those who received the scholarship would get  tested as part of an annual Zulu ceremony, where virgin girls and women are pre-selected to perform a reed dance for King Goodwill Zwelithini.  Learn More @  Here’s my research where I checked it out to get more details and verify it was true.

In Zulu culture, virginity testing is traditionally performed by older women, who inspect a young woman or girls vagina for signs of an intact hymen –  the membrane of skin the covers a woman’s vaginal opening at birth.   If the hymen is not broken, it means that the woman/girl has not had sexual intercourse.  Virginity testing … is still widely practiced, especially around the time of the annual Zulu reed dance in KwaZulu Natal. Only girls who have been certified as virgins can participate in the reed dance.

In Zulu culture, there is a tradition in which girls of a certain age can perform a dance for the king. However, only virgins are allowed to participate.[3] If a girl is tested and declared a virgin, she brings honor to her family.

A virginity test is the practice and process of determining whether a girl or woman is a virgin; i.e., whether she has never engaged in sexual intercourse. The test involves an inspection of the hymen, on the assumption that it can only be torn as a result of sexual intercourse.   Many researchers state that the presence of an intact hymen is not a reliable indicator of whether a female has been vaginally penetrated because the tearing of the hymen may have been the result of an involuntary sex act, such as rape, or other event.[10]

Learn More⇒ Wikipedia

#Virginity Testing

So-called virginity testing, also referred to as hymen, two-finger, or per vaginal examination, is the inspection of the female genitalia to assess if the examinee has had or has been habituated to sexual intercourse.  The two most common techniques are inspection of the hymen for

  • size or tears, and
  • two-finger vaginal insertion to measure size of the introitus or laxity of the vaginal wall.

Both techniques are performed under the belief that there is a specific appearance of genitalia that demonstrates habituation to sexual intercourse [12].  *  *

When asked how they conduct virginity inspection, … the knowledge is “sacred to us. We do not want to unlock things that are so sacred to us”. She only divulged that “we do it practically with gloves and icansi (grass mat)”. After the testing, the girls that are “pure” are given certificates to prove their status as virgins,

the (ihlo) eye – sometimes translated as the hymen – that is inspected, and how this is said to be covered by a piece of flesh (the umhlumbi), the presence of which indicates that the girl is still a virgin.”

Other signs that show that a young woman is still a virgin, according to the inspectors, include tight muscle tone, firm buttocks and breasts and a flat abdomen. The inspectors also claim to be able “to identify whether a girl is a virgin or not simply by looking at her as she walks by”,

How the testers grade young women

To achieve an “A” grade “

  • the color of the labia should be a very light pink,
  • the size of the vaginal opening should be very small,
  • the vagina should be very dry and tight, and
  • the white dot or white lacy veil (hymen) should be clearly evident and intact”.
  • Additionally, the girl’s eyes should “look innocent” and she should have a firm body.

Those who are classified as “B” grade virgins have

  • labia that “are a deeper shade of pink than those of the ‘A’ grade virgin,
  • the vaginal opening slightly bigger,
  • the vagina not so tight, and
  • the vaginal walls slightly lubricated.
  • The white dot and lacy veil (hymen) are said to show evidence of ‘being disturbed’ ”.
    • However, the testers are not clear as to what this exactly looks like,

Those awarded a “B” grade are thought to have had penetrative sex once or twice, or “may have been abused” but are still issued with a certificate. However, those who have been sexually abused repeatedly are more likely to be given a “C” grade.

Other young women who are relegated to the “C” grade have a

  • “vagina that is ‘too wide and too wet’.
  • No evidence of a white dot or veil can be found, and
  • the girl’s eyes betray her as someone ‘who knows men’.” Yahoo News * *



Virginity testing not a reliable way of determining virginity


While virginity testing is a traditional practice in Zulu culture, it is not an exact science. Examining the physical attributes or the vagina of a young woman is not a reliable way to determine virginity for a number of reasons.

  • Firstly, traditional testing relies on certain physical attributes such as “looking innocent” and muscle tone to prove virginity, which are very subjective forms of observation.
  • In the second place, the hymen is not a reliable indicator of virginity because it

Learn More:

Zulu Princess Virgin Test

Zulu Women get in line for virginity check

Reed Dance

Reed Dance Video


Definitions for the big words from the Video
(no longer available on you tub)

Umhlanga [um̩ɬaːŋɡa], or Reed Dance ceremony, is an annual  Swazi and Zulu event.[1] In Eswatini, tens of thousands of unmarried and childless Swazi girls and women travel from the various chiefdoms to the Ludzidzini Royal Village to participate in the eight-day event.[2] The young, unmarried girls were placed in female age-regiments; girls who had fallen pregnant outside wedlock had their families fined a cow.[1]

Umhlanga was created in the 1940s in Eswatini under the rule of Sobhuza II, and is an adaptation of the much older Umcwasho ceremony.[1] The reed dance continues to be practised today in Eswatini. In South Africa, the reed dance was introduced in 1991 by Goodwill Zwelithini, the current King of the Zulus. The dance in South Africa takes place in Nongoma, a royal kraal of the Zulu king.[3][4]   Wikipedia *

Virginity testing avoids sexual abuse!  Avoid being with a man, till woman is the right age.

young maidens ‘amatshitshi’ by their older sisters ‘amaqhikiza’ *


Insubuy Travel Health Insurance
Instant Quotes, Details and ONLINE Enrollment 

International Travel Coverage

Where do the Zulu’s Live?

Zulu Map

Does an intact #Hymen = Virginity?
Pictures - Images - structure, what it looks like  & Where is the Location from Medical Text Books & Website 

hymen picture britannica

click to enlarge & view labels - photos courtesy of
Why does the photo say hymen caruncle & not just hymen?

Vagina - photo from wikipedia

Vulva with pubic hair removed and labia separated to show the opening of the vagina:

  1. Clitoral hood
  2. Clitoris
  3. Labia minora
  4. Urethral opening
  5. Vaginal opening - Hymen is around the vaginal opening - see photo's and diagrams below.
  6. Perineum
  7. Anus   Picture from
  8. How does the Zulu Tribe test Virginity for the Reed Dance?
  9. See pictures below for text book labeling of hymen location -


  1. I've searched and searched for years and haven't found an authoritative picture of a hymen before and after sexual intercourse.   If you have an authoritative medical source, not porn, please post it below in comments - ask a question.
    1. OK, I found a video - but it's GRAPHIC Surgical Procedures!
      1. VIDEO Hymen Repair Procedure (Hymenoplasty)- Watch How it's Done
      2. Here's their website and contact information, somehow it just goes against my grain to provide this... either you've had sexual intercourse or you haven't.
      3. Cherokee Women's Health #Telemedicine

      Photo from Bronson (documenting child sexual abuse)hymen-abuse-manual photo from bronson health

    3. hymen picture from healthy strokes

      Picture from  Hymen - Healthy Strokes   visit their website for more

      Smart Phone - Read our text & Explanation 

      Hymen Photo's & Diagrams

      Grey Anatomy - Hymen

      More text from Gray's Anatomy  *  Purchase Book  *
      types of hymen from young women's health

    4. Photo from Young Women's 

    5. Photo courtesy of
      Click on photo to enlarge
    6. side view vagina hymen clitoris
    7. Types of hymens Young Women's Health gallery

    8. Sideway's view 


We are no #longer researching and answering questions on this page.  Especially those asking if you are still a virgin.  In some countries, it's a criminal act - Honor Killing

Please just follow the links, references, footnotes & citations above or check with your Medical Professional, legal counsel or Clergy.  

You may post your question in comments and hopefully another website visitor can answer it for you.  Try checking back in a week or so.

We are not clergy, medical professionals or have any qualifications to determine virginity, especially in cultures, religions and countries not our own,  other than the ability to read and google. 

8 comments on “Ukuhlolwa Kwezintombi – Zulu Virgin Test & Reed Dance

  1. It is not advisable to kick a young girl out of virginity inspection program because she was raped as a young child (before puberty). Such a child should be kept in the program although she will not be having hymen or her hymen might show signs of having been broken however once she reaches puberty at around thirteen years her vaginal orifice will show signs of no penetration if she never engaged in penetrative sex since the incident.
    So intact hymen should not be used as the sole measure to determine virginity. Remember!! Some girls are born without hymen at all.

  2. If you were maybe raped at an early age while you still into Virginity testing what do you do to support the young lady? do you kick her out of the group or what?

    • This question is beyond my knowlege, which is limited to google search and what you see above. Try following the links of my research and maybe someone there can answer your question. If you do find an authoritative answer, please post it in comments on this page.

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