Fighting FGM in Senegal | Close Up

Sister Fa is a Senegalese rapper and anti-FGM activist on a mission to eradicate the harmful cultural practice.

| Arts & Culture, Human Rights, Africa, Senegal, Health

Fatou Mandiang Diatta, also known as Sister Fa, is an award-winning Senegalese urban soul and hip-hop star who uses her music to campaign for human rights and for an end to female genital mutilation (FGM). She herself is a survivor of the painful, dangerous practice.

Nearly a quarter of women aged 15 to 49 in Senegal have experienced FGM, the cutting or removal of the external female genitalia. Worldwide, 200 million women and girls have been affected by it. 

Since 2007, Sister Fa has been a vocal campaigner for the rights of young girls, touring the country and setting up grassroots projects aimed at stamping out the practice entirely. 

''If I was a part of a movement that eradicates FGM in Senegal ... I will not have wasted my time.''

In Fighting FGM in Senegal, Sister Fa returns to her hometown of Thionk Essyl in southern Senegal to engage the community in the fight. At the end, she will perform for the whole village, a highlight many eagerly wait for. 

She uses her fame to bring together young people to defend their rights and protect those who are younger in their community. She enlightens youth clubs on their rights and the nature of FGM, showing them shocking photos of the practice. 

Sister Fa's message is clear - FGM is a traditional practice not condoned by Islam. She enlists the help of local imams to emphasise the importance of child protection in Islamic practice. 

FGM is illegal in Senegal but remains prevalent. In spite of that, there have been few prosecutions.

"I don't consider myself a victim. I'm an FGM survivor," says Sister Fa.

 A film by: Andrew Smith

Editor: Ala Alhussan 

Translators: Sonia Chemaa and Fatou Diatta

EP: Andrew Phillips 

Follow Andrew Smith @fleetingyear on Instagram

Source: Al Jazeera

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