From Silence to Speech: African Women in New York Write about their Circumcisions
From September - November 2005, I conducted a weekly writing workshop with 8 committed West African women, mostly new immigrants to New York City, who wanted to write about their circumcisions. Their reasons for participating ranged from personal testimony to be shared with their daughters, needing a space to discuss a topic long considered taboo and as a political statement against the practice overall. The women who wrote mostly in Bamabara and French, with bits of English, described the details of their memories, drew pictures of their cuttings, spoke about their fears on returning home with their uncircumcised daughters, as well as the larger issues of assimilation, beauty perceptions, African husbands, motherhood and immigration. This paper seeks to combine the pedagodical approach I used throughout the various workshop sessions and their actual words, writings and images.
Keywords: African women writers, Female Circumcision, African women's bodies, Gender, African literature
PhD Candidate/Graduate Student, Department of English, University of South Africa