1. Dr Tatu Kamau, (a medical doctor, that is), wants Female Genital Mutilation legalised. This has been in the news the last few weeks. Her reason, according to the Daily Nation, is that outlawing female circumcision is against many African Cultures and should be reviewed. She wants female adults especially to be given a choice on regarding their bodies, without legisilation.
Her suggestion has been met with derision, anger, ridicule, and utter disbelief that a) an educated woman, with a medical degree no less can dare even support what is now generally agreed is a retrogressive cultural practice, b)she is doing this in 2017.
Don’t be quick to dismiss her. My boss once asked me to do a story about elite FGM. Where parents in Nairobi, especially the rich shepherd their daughters and send them to the village for the cut, before they return back to the city and continue to live like ‘civilised’ people.
My community is one of the communities that used to practice FGM. I thought the practice had died in the late 1990s since I never saw the ceremonies that used to be held after around 1996. It became stigmatized and I don’t remember a girl who faced a knife after that.
But upon calling my relatives in the medical profession, I was assured that FGM is still a fact of life, albeit in extreme secrecy. I asked a female anthropologist from Kisii, currently studying in the best university in Africa, while researching with an American university and she told me that FGM is too much hullabaloo over nothing. She enjoys sex as much as a woman who has not undergone FGM does. “It would be better if I had not been cut, but it shouldn’t be such a big a deal.
My other friend, an anthropologist, did his PhD on FGM among adult women in a certain community in the Rift Valley. Apparently, the women their, out of their own volition, go for the cut, but part of the reason is the stigma associated with not being cut and their husbands “like it when they are cut”.
Now, some people, armed with a degree and western notions that our cultures are backward, tend to dismiss people like Dr Tatu Kamau as retrogressive, but let me tell you something.
Someone once asked Mahatma Gandhi what he thought of Western civilization. “I think it would be a good idea.”
What we consider modern, chic, hip and all and western civilization is not superior to the African culture.
A people’s culture is a product of the environment and it is developed over a long period of time. The environment determines a people’s language, proverbs, songs, poems, literature, choice of food and all.
Communities that practice FGM, do it in their own wisdom. I have studied the constitutions of each culture and why they do the things they used to do, and you can agree with me that Africans old men and women were extremely wise.
I study like the Abagusii constitution and it is a work of genius, even the American constitution, arguably the best-written piece of legisilation has nothing on our constitution. It was very pro-people, pro-women, pro-children with very good succession plans, mitigating measures for things like single-parenthood, laws governing incest and such. It is the dillution with modernity that started to change things.
FGM, I have been told was supposed to contain the sexuality of women. Part of the reason could have been something to do with population control, taming teenage sex and all. All valid, given contraceptives, had not been invented.
If you want to end FGM then what you need to tell people who still do it, that their reasons and justifications are no longer applicable, and educate them.
Tell them that women too are entitled to good sex, and anything, anybody organ that aids the same, is of absolute necessity. Of all the gifts we can give each other, an orgasm is the best.
People who jump on dismissing some cultural practices often miss the point. The biggest challenge is bridging the knowledge gap, once we all know how pernicious a certain practice is, we start to abandon it.
So, what we should tell Dr Kamau is that a clitoris like what Rev Timothy Njoya has told us, is a piece of art, the most creative of all the universe’s creation. It should remain intact and serve its purpose.
2. I will share the rest later…Wacha nikule chipo sonford.