Motivated by her intimate experience of the blade, activist Khady Koita will read from her memoir on September 14, 2012, in Frankfurt. On 2 July 2012, her story was reviewed by Tobe Levin in “’Lose your clitoris and you lose your independence’: Khady wants the world to know.” Her Circle. A magazine of women’s creative arts and activism.
In the photo, you’ll find Khady in white, back row center. The BAN FGM campaign has just presented at the United Nations, February 27, 2012.
Excerpt from Her Circle E-zine:
“Life was sweet in the big house in the suburbs of Thiès,” Khady, a Soninké born in Senegal, recalls, a town whose towering trees lined broad and peaceful streets “in the shadow of the mosque where, at the crack of dawn, Grandfather and the men would go to pray” (Blood Stains. A Child of Africa Reclaims her Human Rights, p. 3).
Soon, though, this early childhood tenderness would shatter, the moment the ‘grandmothers came and said, ‘Today, daughter, you’re going to be purified’” (p. 5). In Soninké, the word is salindé. “In French: ‘excised’. You could also say, ‘cut up'” (p. 7).
“During the long school break, Khady’s sister Daba, her paternal cousins Lélé, Annie, Ndaié, the seven-year-old herself and ‘a dozen or so little girls between six and nine’ awaited a horrendous event. On ordinary days, ‘you’d be just as likely to find [them] playing house with dolls…’” (p 5).
“Not on this day. ‘Two women … dragged me in’, Khady reveals. ‘[One] … grabbed my head and, with all the strength in her knees, crushed my shoulders to the ground; the other … force[d my] legs apart’ (p. 11). Naturally, because children resist, the girl’s age and maturity determine the supporting cast. ‘If you’re big, solid and expected to struggle, more women will be there to restrain you’ (p 11). For the ‘scrawny and small’, like Khady, you needed ‘only’ two.”
“And then …”