In 2008, as part of my thesis research, I obtained a book by a nineteenth-century London surgeon that outlined multiple cases of clitoridectomy
carried out by him (Brown, 1866).
Enslin & Horsthemke (2004) claim that the argument for Ubuntu is weakened by the staggering incidence in Africa south of the Sahara of genocide, dictatorships and autocratic rule, corruption, sexism and practices like clitoridectomy
, heterosexualism and homophobia.
Thus the practice of clitoridectomy
is a deplorable practice in place even today to prevent women from erotic and sexual pleasure.
As hysteria was treated by wide-ranging therapies including surgery, blistering, botanical remedies, marriage, talk therapy, cold douches, firm pressure applied to the ovaries, clitoridectomy
, and rest (Mitchinson 286-88), the nineteenth-century conception of the condition rooted it in the social, biological, and cultural life of the sufferer.
However, when we critically read texts (such as The River Between) from the vantage point of a society in which gender equality, social justice and human rights are constitutionally protected, Muthoni's clitoridectomy
is to be viewed in a new light.
He describes how parental attempts to control mating shape social structures that enable them to do so, such as foot-binding, clitoridectomy
, and inheritance rights; how parents use psychological manipulation to exercise their influence; how they prefer different traits in a daughter-in-law vs.
It is also here worth mentioning that clitoridectomy
was practiced in the United States and Britain from the early 1800s to the mid 1950s as a cure from diverse disorders, for example: masturbation, hysteria, nymphomania etc.
Re MTF, supra note 87 (social group defined as "women in danger of Female Genital Mutilation" at para 1); Re IFL, supra note 86 (social group defined as "minor females at risk of clitoridectomy
or genital mutilation" at para 1); Re RSF, supra note 87 (social group defined as "females who are subjected to Female Genital Mutilation" at para 1).
The first is clitoridectomy
where the clitoris (the most sensitive part of the female genital that leads to sexual gratification) is partially or totally removed.
The Nyaturu people of Singida region in Tanzania practice clitoridectomy
(partial or total removal of the clitoris), a type of female genital mutilation (FGM), as a cultural practice, along with different types of scarification.
This is known as clitoridectomy
, and is also referred to as excision (5).
resolve, the issues raised by veiling, clitoridectomy
, polygamy, and