Monday, July 10, 2006

Do They Know It's Clitoris?

If Janet Jackson pierces her clitoris, she is liberated;
If wanjiku pierces her clitoris, she is mutilated...

The Fraternity boys were already in New York ‘developing’ Africa one jargon word at a time. In the Bible Belt, Special Air Mission Veni Vici Vidi was successfully returned from a Crusading Mission against the barbarous moors. In Ivy League, USA, the Anthropology class had long returned from the Cradle of Man and- with their war badges of primitive art forms safely on the mantel- were out angling for State Department Internships. Even George Clooney had been to Darfur and back (and that ‘war experience’ could hopefully earn him a bigger role in the sequel to The Thin Red Line.)

The suits on UN Avenue, had been yakking rhetorical for years. They had sustained a veneer of gainful employment formulating Structural Adjustments; Cliché Empowerment and sustainable gobbledegook programmes and all that in between calls to their stockbrokers and clocking frequent flier miles.

Across the pond, a Band had got Aid in overcoming the sophomore slump by once again- as Chumba Wumba used to say- using the pictures of starving children to sell records. They had had two awareness concerts; a low key one for the starving African artistes and the other, a huge one featuring I-am-free-to-starve-myself super models. (Graced by waif-like millionaires who cannot tell Marsabit from nose candy.) Suddenly later day Queen Marie Antoinettes had become the spokespeople for the peasants:
“Why would the bliks want food? Food is sooo…grosssss…. So fattening!”

Everyone had played their part in changing the world. Changing the world by churning out more policy ‘paper’ that the Congolese rainforests they were trying to save could provide. Everyone, well, almost everyone- the sorority sisters were yet to tailor their own agenda for Africa.

In truth the girls had set up a couple of shelters- in maasai land, obviously- but it was time for a real Feminist Agenda for Africa. You know, the type of Agenda that looks perfect in situ- as a college dissertation that is- but implodes upon initial contact with its prescribed banana republic. It was time for the Feminist Lobby to Globalise; to reach out to their (insert preferred synonym for deprived) Sisters in Africa. It was time to talk to Mr. Africa Consultant.


Ms. Femme books an appointment with the Consultant. Kenya sounds like a fair enough location to have the meeting seeing that it is the only non-rebel held province in South Africa. MS. Femme gets her shots- considers acquiring a bio safety suit? - and a Zulu phrase book and prepares for her flight into the Heart of Darkness. Naturally, she will not fly Kenya Airways; I mean the pilot could be this mung-ek-ey thing the CIA Handbooks talk about that hates women with clitoris. Then again, from what she reads, Kenyans are congenitally corrupt and ergo, a Kenyan pilot could easily take a bribe and land in uncoca-colonised territory.

Anyway, sooner rather than later, she finds herself at The Nairobi Serena- or is it The Panari sky center these days? She is in time for her appointment with the consultant and now one of two things is bound to happen:
A) The consultant is late. The reason, she will later learn, has to do with a road- or the lack of it- right through a migratory route for elephants. That will make much sense to her because as she will note sagely, “where else can one build roads in Africa while it is all untamed bush?” (A fair surmise informed by her favourite ‘me Karen Blixen- you monkey!’ movie.)

B) The consultant is right there at The Serena- at the Bar! It is about midday but the fellow is on his umpteenth Tusker. In response to her ‘how do,’ he goes on and on as to how “… inspite of all their peculiar ways, these kafirs can brew…”

Now you know our consultant, don’t you? He failed in everything from coal mining to garbage collection in his home country and took a one way ticket to Africa. Now he lives in Karen but drives a Range Rover with a sawed-off roof and a survival kit at the back. The Consultant cuts the image of a fellow who knows how to survive in a failed state- you jua- where the words coup and democracy are interchangeable.

So Ms. Femme sits down to listen and learn about the African woman. All this from a man whose experiences with African women begin: “you me...like jiggy jiggy…yes?” But what choice does Ms. Femme have? She cannot go into the bush to meet The People. There are too many risks involved; like encountering the business end of a Janja Weed militia’s, Ak-47 (or what is it the CNN Nairobi correspondent called the rebels, Banyamulenge?)

After all, the consultant has been in Africa for twenty years. He knows the lay of the land. He knows which cabinet minister is sleeping with what…
“What…?
Yeah… this Africans are a queer lot!”

In a short while, she learns the reason for a high prevalence of HIV infection from Cape Town to Timbuktu. She now knows why the infinitely misogynistic Samburu man (“Samburu is what Maasais call themselves, here!”) circumcises his wife. She now has all the information she needs to change Africa one constitution at a time. And that is an easy thing to do, considering that the Africans have no constitutions or any understanding of such things as “we hold to be self evident that all men -and women- are created equal.”

It is now time to return to the air conditioned DC office and write her project proposal. But first she has to write a grant proposal because as she has learnt, all she needs in Africa is money to ‘lobby’ parliament.

Money is no issue, though; there is always Bill Gates types trying to earn a tax cut, a conscience or both. If the mega-rich aren’t interested,then, she can always count on the American Public. But she has to scare them shitless. Scare them like Dubya…”if you aren’t for the African Woman, then you is against them”

It is time to hit the Lecture Circuit running. Circumcise must of neccessity mutate into Mutilate….MU-TI-LA-TE!

“…imagine your genitals mutilated, America…!”
“…yeah… you can make a difference…
Thank You…
What… they don’t know it is Christmas…
Yes you too can give…


…Clitoris For Africa!”


This post Inspired by: Kibera Recolonised

The saga continues...

22 comments:

wanjui said...

got to love your flow !!!!!

alexcia said...

Very nice piece

acolyte said...

Well written!It has always galled me how Africans reject local experts for expatriates who more often than not were flops back home!
Plus those expats and non profit folk have always "regressed" africa in their correspondence so as to justify the hardship allowances they get.
As for Ms Femme and her save the clits mission, I have to ask one question.Why are western feminists so obsessed with vaginas?Too much feminist art and poetry is about vaginas.The wonder of the crimson vagina,vaginas give life,vagina,vagina,vagina!
And men are accussed of having one track minds.

Valedon said...

wow. This is really nice; powerful writing.

POTASH said...

@Wanjui, alexcia,Valedon: Thanks for the sentiment.

@Aco:
In Kibera recolonised, I said that part of what they teach you is that mzungu can do it and you cannot- or something to that effect. Of course, every reason exists to prove that adage..(tut!tut!)

You need to realise that Aid Industry has no interest in developing Africa, frankly speaking who wants to work themselves out of a job. But as always, i draw the distinction between individuals who feel called to make a difference and Organisations that spend 90% of their grant funds on Admin.

About vagina... well, Freud can tell us better, I haven't had my share of depraved women to work one..lol

Kaunda said...

Reading this post I felt my heart swell: Clitoris for Africa--Clitoris for the World!

That's from an old white American sissy, so I wonder too with Acolyte what's with our obsession? It's not just feminists. I can't wrap my head around all the news of sexual sadism being played out in America's WOT. WTF? Yeah, maybe as you suggest Potash, Freud can analyze it. I suppose not really the trust of your post, still I declare: Clitoris!

Girl next door said...

Your post is a great read! So tragic but true... if you get a chance, I highly recommend reading "The Sex Lives of Cannibals"

Texter said...

1.) Why are western feminists so obsessed with vaginas?

Huh?
Are you going to tell me that men (and women) across time have not been obsessed with the penis/phallus, and the vagina both?
This is not a new thing, resurrected by so-called feminists.

I would say that, yes, certain women have chosen to valorize the vagina, in response to its denigration ...

but the denigration must be seen in specific instances, and specific eras, specific cultures, it is not "the same" everywhere...

njoki said...

Aha, I see we are getting to the Nitty gritty. what with the combination of the Ms. Femme(degenerate western Feminist?) and the african-woman vagina/clitoris(pure, supplicant male dominated territiory?). What with the westerner coming from her cushy-pushy comfortable life to illuminate the vaginal woes of the african woman. I for one am all for Ms Femme ( despite her uninformed ideas of Africa.I don't blame her for her ignorance, because we all want our countries to be rich and comfortable enough for us to be able to ignore the rest of the world). At least Ms Femme is giving the eradication of female circumscison(which unlike male circumscision has no medical or hygenic value) a shot, by giving it a wider audiance.So don't blame Ms femme, because she has(at the crux)got good intentions. And yes I know about the road to hell paved with good intentions, but I rather get there, clitoris, outer and inner labia and as a whole Vagina, intact.

Anonymous said...

And Potash as always beautifully flawless writing. Do I gush? Unashamedly so!! I may overflow soon and need some damming up.

Njoki said...

Sorry, I forgot to put my name-anonymous above is njoki.

gishungwa said...

First time here. Was at Kibera Recolonised. allow me to tell you of a village in Huruma that i have come to know through Rotary/Rotaract who decided not to wait for aid but started a microfinance and have gone ahead to build self contained flats of at least two rooms each through their efforts. For me that just did it. Its a das pity that even in coporate world, expatriates who are no better qualified are put on a pedestal and paid more than a guy who works the same Job.
As for Ms Femme, vagina monologoues et al give the clit a break, there is more to a woman than a clit comprende!.
PS:You have a way with words that is really good.

POTASH said...

Mhhh... I feel brain dead today, for once I am totally incapable of intellectual posturing so I can only acknowledge your comments. And even the sequel to this has bombed out on me....dayum!!!

Acolyte said...

@ texter
I do agree that males have been somewhat enamoured by phalluses and phallic symbols but feminists take vagina worship to a whole new level!

kissyface said...

why are Western women so obsessed with mutilating their faces? why do we mutilate the newborn's penis? why are American girls ritualistically cutting themselves? they hypocrisies are huge and will always be there. still, not so sure that makes the anti-clitcutcult wrong. i am really into people cleaning up their own shit before telling others what to do, however. we can still help each other out all along the way, though. maybe the key is to wait to be asked? or offer to see if there is receptivity.

POTASH said...

well kissy, thanks for the opinion. I do not understand what side you are on though, but then again I do not take sides, I just look at the Kenyan situation which happens to be annonyingly and increasingly modelled on the west.

kissyface said...

my side is that i do believe it is wrong to mutilate the genitals of a minor child of either sex. but i am not big on stepping into other cultures and delivering "thou shalts" and "thou shalt nots." i was trying to point out the hypocrisies. still, i might have a sugar problem, but i'm still right if i tell you it's bad for you.

that clear it up? clear as mud.

sokari said...

A bit late on this but only just picking up on your blog from the indaba saga...
this sounds like a variation of the "we are all Africans" crap that is going round but hey white people feminists, colonialist, missionaries etc etc having been doing this 500 years and it is just as unsubtle now as then. As to why western feminists are obsessed with their vaginas – my interaction with Western feminists is limited to women of color and it is not in my experience that they obsesses over their vaginas. Reading Black feminists such as Audrey Lorde, Angela Davis, bell hooks, June Jordan – the list goes on I cannot recall the vagina being central to any discussion.

Kissy – you are right we do not need any more missionaries in Africa. BUT at the same time we as Africans need to get our shit together and stop mutilating minors who have no choice in the matter – is it obsessive for a woman to want to experience sexual pleasure – should all African women not also experience these pleasures. Experiencing sexual pleasure doesnt mean it is the primary focus of your life. I believe every woman has the right to enjoy those pleasures.

POTASH said...

Mhhh..now i am one of the bad ones...mhhh

POTASH said...

Anyway, I am just to tired to talk about misintepratations and things, but you have already come in here with a mindset from the fall out MMK has brought on the blogosphere. I guess you will label me amongst the African Blog rebels, but I am a writer not an activist; satire is a device, I use.
PS: Kissy is not African...by any defination...

POTASH said...

damn saturday afternoons...don't know what I am talking about

theemmas said...

beggining quote, unashamedly reflective of who we are, kenyans, ugandans,etc... and where our security and identity lie.
deep potash