Yeast and bacteria are mostly responsible for vaginal infections, and most of them are characterized by discharge, bad odour or irritation, which is something that no woman wants to have to deal with.
Vaginal infections should never be ignored, for one because they can lead to more serious conditions, and secondly, because it is a clear sign that something is not well with your body, and of course it should be looked into. This is where your gynaecologist comes in.
Proper hygiene is extremely important for a woman, as a lack thereof can cause infections. Also, the soap that we use to wash the vaginal area might be a problem, so these need to be looked into properly.
Another problem could simply be the moisture that is constantly there. It is a fact that bacteria thrive better in areas than are moist than dry, so make sure that after bathing, you are dried up properly. When you are having your menstrual cycle, obviously the area is even more moist, therefore take extra care. Change your pads/tampons often and try to keep as dry as possible under the circumstances.
Sex is another huge thing for women. Women who do not use condoms with their male partners will expose themselves to bacteria that the guy has, and of course other risks such as HIV. It is important to protect yourself every time when there is sex involved. And of course, one should clean up after a sexual encounter. After properly protecting yourself, the second most important thing is to clean up.
And then of course there is sweating, especially when it gets really hot in the summer months in South Africa. Cotton underwear is better for women, as it will even allow a bit of air flow.
Vaginal infections are not ok, should you suspect that you have one, contact your gynecologist because then they can ascertain what it is exactly and what the cause is. More importantly, they will be able to treat it.