12 October 2014

When The Time Comes

The semi-nomadic Samburu tribe of Kenya still practices female circumcision, despite the fact that it was made illegal in 2003 by the Maputo Protocol (which was ratified by 37 African countries).  However, slowly but surely brave women (with the support of a number of men) are speaking up for their rights and demanding that their daughters are not put through this coming of age ritual any longer.

This may sound like something of a depressing way to spend ten minutes of your time, but I guarantee that you will be uplifted by this very human story.  The debate among the tribespeople is intergenerational with one of the male village elders (inadvertently, I think) giving the game away when he says that a circumcised woman is easier to control – and that is, ultimately what this ritual is all about.  One woman cleverly counters this with an argument with which few red-blooded men would be inclined to disagree.

Beautifully directed by Charles Gay, this short documentary shows a usually hidden side of a secluded culture – it is very brave of these women simply to talk about the subject let alone commit their opinion to film.  It also reveals a colorful and vibrant culture in the throes of change. The amazing traditional clothing worn by the often very beautiful Samburu women is a feast for the eyes, while the subject gives us much food for thought.