South African teens get lippy over smooch ban - kissathons planned
Jan 5, 2008, 11:06 GMT
Johannesburg - Thousands of South African teenagers were due to take part in 'kissathons' across the country Saturday in protest over a new law that bans all consensual sexual activity among under- 16s, including kissing and canoodling.
The social networking site Facebook has become a rallying point for teens angered by the new Sexual Offences Act, which makes it illegal for teens to kiss, touch or rub up against each other, the Star newspaper reported.
Thousands of youngsters have joined a chat group on the site called Everyone Against the New Kissing Law, where the tone swings from the outraged to the dismissive.
'So what if there's a law? ... It's just another stupid thing that never affects anyone's life,' one contributor wrote.
Kissathons have been scheduled in cities across the country, including Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria.
In Johannesburg young lovers were scheduled to lock lips at an ice rink in a suburban shopping mall, according to SAfm public radio.
The new Sexual Offences Act, which was signed into law by President Thabo Mbeki in mid-December, contains provisions on a number of consensual and non-consensual sexual acts.
Some provisions, such as the expansion of the definition of rape to include male rape, received a warm welcome from people working with victims of sexual abuse - a major problem in South Africa, where over 50,000 rapes are reported each year, including large numbers of child rapes.
But the tough line on teen flirtation, seen as an attempt to rein underage pregnancies, was rubbished by more than one NGO as 'ridiculous.'© 2008 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur