Circumcision In Africa

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It is the complete or partial surgical removal of the clitoris from a woman and has a highly spiritual and cultural significance in many African communities and is required for cultural identity (Kanogo, 2005). In the beliefs of the indigenous communities, cliterodectomy was directly bonded with marriageablilty, procreation, ethnic purity and access to land and thus it meant being socially accepted by community. The missionaries, colonial government and the Kikuyu Central Association (KCA) became very involved in this major controversy: whether or not female circumcision should be allowed to continue in Kenya (Kanogo, 2005). Many women challenged these views and partook in the initiation process. Therefore in this essay I shall be discussing…show more content…
It was a rite of passage that determined right from wrong, and insiders from outsiders. With colonialism, new religions and beliefs were brought into Kenya such as the Protestant religion. This caused major controversies in Kenya (Kanogo, 2005). The people who resisted the cliterodectomy risked social outcast and they would become “Kavirondo”, a term meaning the other. The “kavirondo” would be spatially and subconsciously removed from their rural homes (Kanogo, 2005). During the colonial expansion of Britain, African bodies and their sexualities became a central focus for justifying the main reasons for the British colonialism, which were to civilize what they thought as “Barbarian” communities of Kenya among many other countries of Africa. They believed that the Africans were primitive and therefore were disgraced compared to the conservative ‘sexual normality’ of European women such as the Victorians. Victorian women were expected to hide their sexuality and be reserved and thus they tried to control the “barbaric” women of Africa by illegalizing cliterodectomy as it was not what they saw as correct behavior. Colonial missionaries created the idea that cliterodectomy was wrong. Agnes Wairimu Hinga challenged these belief systems which were also held by her family of a Protestant faith by joining in on the traditional practice of cliterodectomy.…show more content…
It was highly spiritual and cultural but when the British Empire colonized Kenya they illegalized this sacred practice as they thought it was immoral and not what they perceived women to do, compared to their dainty and conservative Victorian women. Some Kenyan women followed their families and changed to follow the colonial beliefs and laws but many young women went through with the initiation such as Agnes. Her affiliation to conform to tradition and secure her social standing not only defied her family’s loyalty but caused her to defy ‘her’ faith. Gender, generational and colonial conventions were broken with her choice to take part in the tradition of cliterodectomy. The Meru girls as well as many others defied their parents, family and colonial laws in order to partake in their decision to practice cliterodectomy and therefore there have been many ways in which young women challenged gender, generational and colonial authority over the practice of cliterodectomy in colonial
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