JOHANNESBURG – A South African man is offering women aged up to 35 a reward of $9,300 and medals if they are still virgins, in an apparent bid to combat HIV and teenage pregnancy.
Rabelani Ramali, a community worker from rural Limpopo province, told The Times newspaper he will give “successful” virgins prize money of up to 100,000 rand and gold, silver and bronze medals, according their age.
The initiative has received a mixed reaction.
“Those in the lower age groups will aspire to keep their virginity to claim a bigger prize once they reach that older age bracket,” Ramali was quoted as saying.
The man — who has fathered five children by four women — calls himself the founder of “South African Virgin Girls Awards.”
He has enlisted a local doctor to verify the contestants’ virginity status.
“When he approached me about his mission, I thought it was a good, interesting idea to tackle the scourge of HIV and AIDS,” doctor Mbonise Tharage was quoted as saying.
“His intentions are noble but it is a huge task,” he said.
South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV, with about 6.4 million people living with the virus.