South Africa’s education minister Angie Motshekga has condemned a school for allowing girls to expose their buttocks and breasts in a choir competition, saying it was undignified and promoted their “sexual objectification”, the local Times Live news site reports.

It quoted her as saying in a statement:
It is extremely disappointing to see that our educators have exposed young girls to this type of public displays of nudity.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being proud of your culture and heritage‚ but there was absolutelyno need for these children to perform completely naked. That indignity goes against the values of our cultures.

This is even more upsetting considering the increased sexual objectification of women and girls for the entertainment of men. We further apologise to the families of the young girls for the trauma and harm caused.”

The choir master, however, defended the performance at a competition in Mthatha – the main town in the Xhosa heartland of Eastern Cape province – on Friday.

The lead singers took off their traditional blankets (umbhaco) and danced with only small aprons (inkciyo) during a segment which focused on Xhosa tradition, the unnamed choir master was quoted by the Daily Dispatch newspaper as saying.

“We are proud of our Xhosa tradition. We are proud of inkciyo. We are proud of Xhosa women and girls‚” he added.