Maasai women, with their faces decorated with red ochre, parade as they participate in the preparation of “Entoto”, a traditional coming-of-age ceremony in Olkerin Manyatta

Some young Kenyan Maasai Women during the Etondo ceremony. It is an initiatory rite to adulthood which includes excision. Excision has also been documented among the vitalist  (animist) peoples of the Central African Republic. They explain it the same way as ancient Egyptians were doing so. According to researcher and linguist Jean-Claude Mboli from the Central African Republic, it has been prohibited by President Bokassa. Excision is still found among the vitalist peoples of Sierra Leone. Ugandans consider excision as equivalent to circumcision. This confirms that it is indeed an African practice and shows that traditional excision practitioners do not aim to harm the girl. Neither is the goal to harm the boy while circumcising him.
It is legitimate to denounce the impact of excision on health but it is wrong to use it as a pretext to point at Africans as savage female genital mutilators.
Photo by Thomas Mukoya for Reuters

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