Rebelle: Fine Fiction against excision not translated into English

Available in French and German but not yet in English.

Among the first Africans to place violence against women — clitoridectomy; early, forced marriage; and patriarchal power structures — at the heart of a novel, this one published in 1998 in the Ivory Coast, Fatou Keita deserves attention from English-speaking readers. Commenting on her daring, a German description sees value emerging precisely from the complexity of themes, too often stripped of nuance and inherent equivocation by declamatory, didactic discourse. After all, mothers do this to their daughters who resent the deception and pain but love their mothers. With no singularity of approach but rather a gift for highlighting varied subjectivities, Keita serves up tropes we often find in FGM memoirs. The title, for instance, already tells us the protagonist Malimouna rebels; like Khady, she joins the women’s movement in Paris. Rejecting her husband’s non-consensual polygamy, she declares independence and is elected president of her women’s NGO that opposes domestic violence and offers shelter to battered women. These themes can be found in Khady’s Blood Stains. A Child of Africa Reclaims her Human Rights (2010), in Kiminta. A Maasai’s Fight against Female Genital Mutilation (2015), and Taboo. Voices of Women in Uganda on Female Genital Mutilation (2016) among many other sources. These three are published by UnCUT/VOICES Press and belong in a growing syllabus of literary texts on FGM.

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