Slice of Life: Little feet changed my life



After 24 years of virginity testing, the day I found out I was pregnant I was shocked. Everything in me said this was wrong. How could I fall pregnant out of wedlock? What about all the years I waited for marriage and saved myself?

For more than two decades I was taught how chastity and keeping myself for marriage were so important. Don’t get me wrong; I was very proud to undergo virginity testing. It was part of my upbringing and culture. It was never forced on me. It was something I looked forward to every year and being told again and again that I was a virgin made me feel proud.

We were also taught about how important marriage was and not to become pregnant if we were not married.

So when I became pregnant four years ago I just could not believe it. I was somewhat fearful of what people would say and how they would look at me.

But the moment I saw my son, and held him in my arms, everything changed. I saw Lethabo’s little feet and I was in love. Everything about how I had disappointed my culture and family evaporated. I just saw the most perfect little boy.

The feeling I felt that day in March of 2014 … I can’t really describe it.

I was outside of my body. I was floating. I no longer felt I was chained to thinking I was only allowed to have a child in marriage and thinking some man will come and save me and legitimise my life.

Lethabo gave me a new lease on life. He reminds me of myself when I was younger. He is full of energy and inquisitive. I would never give that up for anything, even a few more years of being a virgin.— Zama Luthuli (31) as told to Athandiwe Saba

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Athandiwe Saba
Athandiwe Saba

Athandiwe Saba is a multi award-winning journalist who is passionate about data, human interest issues, governance and everything that isn’t on social media. She is an author, an avid reader and trying to find the answer to the perfect balance between investigative journalism, online audiences and the decline in newspaper sales. It’s a rough world and a rewarding profession.

Related stories


press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday