Film: Moolaade

January 28, 2007 at 5:06 pm 1 comment

This is the controversial but courageous story of girls who refuse to be circumcised. They take refuge with an older woman under a traditional spell of protection. The film, set in Burkina Faso and directed by Ousmane Sembene was screened after the forum ended at a public meeting of the Fund for Grassroots Activism to end Female Genital Mutilation (supported by Equality Now.)

The good news is that in Burkina Faso, the incidence of FGM has reduced, thanks to systematic enforcement of the law. However, according to Efua Dorkenoo statistics from the Demographic Health Survey indicate that this is exceptional: in many African countries the incidence rate remains at 98%.

Grassroots workers at the meeting agreed that, while the law is necessary, it is not sufficient. Girls who run away from home are often too frightened to testify against their parents in public, while lawyers and the police lack training and sensitisation on how to deal with these cases.

Information campaigns, use of songs and drama, work with youth and community dialogues are all strategies that are being used to combat the myths surrounding FGM.

The fact that the film is being screened more widely indicates that the silence – which has surrounded this issue for so long – has now been broken. The topic has so far been deemed by governments to be ‘too sensitive’ for open discussion.

Too sensitive for whom? Babies as young as 5 days old are now being mutilated. It constitutes torture – and has lifelong effects on women’s health. While men try to shrug off the responsibility as ‘women’s business’ they are in fact the major shareholders. Bernadette, a Kenyan working with the Masai to raise awareness of the link between health problems and FGM, tells me, ‘it’s used as a way of maintaining power over women.’

See the film, if you get the chance. And don’t forget. No holy scripture, no religion, requires harmful practices or discrimination against women. This is just one of the myths.


Entry filed under: General, Human rights and dignity, Women in Africa.

One woman at the World Social Forum Capacity

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Zuhairah McGill  |  May 7, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    Iam an African-American woman who is writing a play about genital mutilation and would like to speak to to more on this subject. I am trying to speak to woman here in america that has had this done to them or a family member. I know it’s a hard thing to speak about, but this has to STOP!
    Please get in touch with me.

    First World Theatre Ensemble


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