Thursday, March 29, 2012

There is No Freedom in Female Genital Mutilation

In Lynn Nottage's powerful 2009 Pulitzer Prize winning play, we meet a group of women in war torn Conga who are trying to survive after being Ruined - that is, raped and genitally mutilated. Ms. Nottage's play is based on first hand accounts heard during her 2004 trip to Congo; therefore what we see and read probably occurred. In the film Desert Flower (a somewhat more uplifting survival story), we meet real life Waris Dirie, who was circumcised at age 3 and sold into marriage at 13; Waris Dirie would later make her way to the UK and become a model, writer and activist. 

I was reminded once again of the destructive practice of female genital mutilation or FGM during one of the opening pieces in last weekend's Nimbaya! performance at Symphony Space. Nimbaya! is an all female percussion, singing and African dancing group from Guinea. The group is comprised of some 40 woman; however, only 13 were able to secure visas to visit the US for the current tour. 150 women are on a waiting list to join the group.  

Through their art, Nimbaya! has chosen to bring attention to FGM with the hopes of eradicating the tradition which supposedly (according to the talkback after the show) helps prevents girls from being "loose." In the evening's performance leaflet, a spokesperson for Nimbaya! writes that "FMG has no known health benefits," "it's about controlling women" and "3 million girls are estimated to be at risk of undergoing the procedures every year." 

There seems to be a decline (though small) in the practice of FGM. Some countries have even banned the practice. However, the tradition remains firm. But then again, so are the resolve of FGM activists.


  1. Greetings:
    This is to humbly bring to your attention the availability of my new novel -FLIGHT OF LIFE - from the trilogy- "phenomenon that refuses to die", a story from an African perspective which contributes to efforts to
    bring about the eradication of female genital mutilation, the harmful traditional practice which is slowly becoming more global in its spread from Africa and the Middle East to the West through modern migration. It represents
    another side of the African perspective story of Female Circumcision traditional practice which helps to balance
    the debate on the call for its eradication.
    The novel is an advocacy styled fictional story of the adolescent daughter of an African diplomat who had first-hand knowledge of the agony of Female Genital Mutilation and the blood-chilling evidence of its damaging afflictions when she was seven years old. Avah has since had a predilection, and is averse to the harmful practice; she truculently battles to avoid going for the same rite of passage rituals. There was relentless pestering and harassing from family members fueling incessant heated confrontations between Avah and her mother including abduction attempts which finally culminated in sponsored daylight kidnapping on the streets of London and aggravated diplomatic imbroglio.
    This insightful modern day story throws up some simple practical yet unique eradication tool(s) that are so far overlooked in the fight against the scourge of FGM. Please forward this valuable information to friends and contacts throughout the world so that we can bring an end the old harmful practice that leaves girls and women victims with life-long physical and psychological trauma
    FLIGHT OF LIFE is now available as 'eBook' at the low affordable price of $3.08 on Amazon Kindle and can be read also on your PC and other modern smartphone gadgets in addition to Kindle and iPod. (Please visit ebooks for your copy.

    We humbly refer you to information on our international award-winning film program -IN THE NAME OF TRADITION by Ladi Ladebo - (Please visit - a sensitization film program in Africa and African immigrants in the diaspora.
    Thank you for your kindness.
    Raymond Ladebo

  2. Thank you for bringing our attention to this trilogy and this very important topic. I look forward to reading the books and will spread the word.