Translator:Nyoi-Bo StudioEditor:Nyoi-Bo Studio
Since the restoration of national sovereignty, the peoples of South Africa have restored the great importance of their own traditions.
In the past, white British rulers had tried to weaken the adherence to traditions, believing that by limiting the spread of national culture, they would be able to control the spirit of black people.
Whether it worked or not was doubtful, but in the end, under Mandela’s leadership, the native people regained control of the country.
The native South Africans recognized the sinister intentions of the colonists, and once they were back in power, various ethnic groups started a movement to preserve the traditions and revive the culture.
In addition, since traditionally the Zulu marriage was polygamous, the status of women did not get due attention. Some women disdained the tradition of chastity, and the numbers of unmarried mothers increased. The phenomenon of children only knowing their mothers and not their fathers has become widespread.
Due to a combination of several reasons, the Zulu revived the ancient ritual, which received support from the news media.
Slowly, throughout the Zulu region, the tradition of testing whether unmarried girls have given birth has been revived and was even made into a trendy event.
When carrying out this kind of activity in a group setting, young girls of 15 or 16 years would come from all over the area to a particular place on a particular day, lie down side by side on grass mats spread upon the ground, and allow an old tribeswoman to examine them.
These old women have undergone certain professional training. They learned from the old virgin woman that serves the goddess of birth. They knew the mysterious method that identified a woman’s virginity.
Hearing this explanation, Li Du was stunned. “This is unbelievable!”
Big Ivan said, “Wasn’t it scientifically proven that a woman’s virginity isn’t determined by the presence of the hymen?”
The lion hunter took a deep puff on his cigar, blew out the smoke, and said, “There is no science in Zulu territory, only ancestral traditions — stupid, isn’t it?”
He was unabashed, and gave a disdainful look when he said that. The Zulu man who was laughing around him did look embarrassed.
Because of the wealth and status of the lion hunter, they could not refute him and did no more than mumble a few words after he spoke.
For the Zulu people, this was a solemn ceremony which no man, not even a little boy, was allowed to witness. Those who did would be punished.
The area was surrounded by a long blue cloth, creating an enclosure of sorts. Li Du did not know what was happening inside and wondered, “Sophie is not a Zulu girl, so why would she stay inside?”
The lion hunter said, “Because when this ceremony is held, in order to show justice, it should be observed by someone who is not of this tribe. Sophie is your fianc and my guest of honor, and is regarded as an important person from a developed country.”
“I thought your people would hate white people. After all, white people used to rule you,” said Li Du.
The lion hunter shrugged and said proudly, “They hate white people, but they can’t hate my guests.”
Ten minutes later, the wall of blue cloth was opened and a group of five girls came out.
The girls’ foreheads were dubbed with yellow mud, just like the mark the old woman had. They walked cautiously and proudly, wearing nothing but jewelry on their naked upper bodies.
The lion hunter nodded. “They have passed the test. They are still pure. They will be protected by the goddess.”
“Will they be fortunate enough to marry a man who loves them with all his heart? A man who won’t marry another woman?” said Lu Guan casually.
The lion hunter looked at him and said, “Young man, our cultures are different. In our tribe, if you marry only one woman, you are a weak coward.”
“Statistically, the ratio of male to female births in the tribe should be about one to one. This would mean that while some men have more than one wife, others don’t have any, right?” said Li Du.
The lion hunter nodded and said, “Yes, and these men are worth less than cowards. They are not recognized or respected. Unless there is a war, and then they go to the battlefield to prove their worth.”
What else could Li Du say? Zulu marriage traditions were too strange. A man who does not have a wife would not have social status?
The lion hunter was telling the truth. In order to ensure that their men could get married, the Zulu people had a custom similar to that of marrying someone from another tribe in the closed mountains of China.
According to Zulu tradition, men and women of the same family could not intermarry, even if they were very distantly related. As long as they belonged to the same family, they would always be like brothers and sisters.
Therefore, to ensure that their young men would marry and the families would grow, elders of multiple families would sometimes arrange unions.
Did such marriages have affection? As a matter of fact, most Zulu couples had little affection for each other — polygamy was always an injustice to women, and in this social position, how could a woman fall in love with her husband?
Moreover, many men did not see women as lifelong partners, but as brood mares and instruments of cheap labor.
The girl who passed the test could continue going topless, which was a kind of recognition,something like a “female certificate”. Unlike in other parts of the world, going topless is a symbol of purity and beauty among the Zulu.
Li Du had a dj vufeeling about this situation. In Chinese history, there was a thing called the virginity archway, which seemed to be somewhat like the virginity archway of Zulu women.
He, Lu Guan, Big Ivan, Big Quinns, and the others thought this was an insult to women, but the lion hunter did not think so, and waved. “Let’s go, I will take you to another ceremony. Then you’ll know that we do not despise women. There is no discrimination against the great mother.”
This other ritual was even more bizarre. Just as Zulu had a test for female purity, they examined the virginity of the young men from the tribe.
A group of big boys, naked and with their hips outstretched, were waiting to be examined within a similar-looking plain cloth wall.
When Li Du went inside, he was shocked to see so many black, muscular naked young men.
He looked at the lion hunter in disbelief and cried, “My God, isn’t this nonsense? How do you verify a man’s virginity?”
The lion hunter said, “This is an activity initiated by our Zulu king in South Africa in the last two years. He consulted with many doctors and folklore experts before giving the decree.”
Li Du could not suppress his curiosity, and asked, “So how would you check this? This is really astonishing!”
“First, experts believe that if a man is really good at keeping his purity before marriage, his foreskin must be pretty tight. If an unmarried man’s foreskin has become loose, it’s nine chances out of ten that he had already had sex.”
The lion hunter grinned contemptuously. “And these kids have to pee head up”
Li Du asked, “So this would be a test of how high one’s stream can reach?”
At this, the lion hunter snapped his fingers. “You’re absolutely right. By the test standards, a man is pure if his stream of urine is high enough to reach his head or even higher. Otherwise I don’t have to say much, do I?”