There is a heated argument ongoing between the South African government and traditionalists after a video of nude teenage schoolgirls singing and dancing during a school choir competition went viral.
The video showed the girls dancing on stage during the competition in Mthatha, in the Eastern Cape, with buttocks and breasts exposed.
In a statement, the Education Minister, Angie Motshekga strongly condemned the “naked dancing of teenage school girls on stage” and called for an investigation.
“It is completely inappropriate on the part of educators and they should know better than to expose teenage girls to this form of exploitation,” she was quoted by local media Daily Dispatch.
But the choirmaster has defended the performance.
“We are proud of our Xhosa tradition. We are proud of ‘inkciyo’. We are proud of Xhosa women and girls,” he said.
The minister has since rejected the justification given for the dance performance.
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with being proud of your culture and heritage, but there was absolutely no need for these children to perform completely naked. That indignity goes against the values of our cultures,” she said.
“This is even more upsetting considering the increased sexual objectification of women and girls for the entertainment of men,” she added.
South Africa has one of the highest prevalence rates of women and girls being sexually abused, with an average 150 rapes recorded across the country every day, local reporters say.
The partial nudity displayed by the schoolgirls during their performance, however, does not seem to be a bother to some people, who consider it as part of their culture.
During the Reed Dance, virgin girls dance bare-breasted in front of traditional kings, in a traditional practice aimed at encouraging girls to stay away from sex until they are married.
Below is a video of the dance performance by the schoolgirls: