Intro: One woman's recollection of excision, more appropriately known as Female Genital Mutilation. Anka Fo "Ante" means Let's Decide To Say "No".
Disclaimer: The song mentioned here belongs to its respective artiste, writers and producers. This piece of Prose is solely voluntary, and I'm by no method whatsoever making any monetary benefits from it. The song is featured in a collection of songs against excision, amongst many other issues faced by women all over the world. For further information, please check out:
ANKA FO "ANTE" (Reality Fiction)
I stepped out of my carriage, looking at my unfamiliar surroundings. Twenty years of urbanisation had done much to mask the land of the bloodshed it had once been subjected to. The bittersweet memories came back, as faint as the scent of the arid air, mingled with dust, amongst others. Yes, it had been twenty years since I left, wanting nothing more than to rid myself of the pain this place had caused. The pain of being home.
I straightened by travel-soiled clothes, while shouldering my modest bag. There was a reason for my being here, but whatever it was, it wasn't going to keep me here for long. Nothing could keep me here… I was adamant about it!
The train ride from London had been exhausting, but I intended to make it worth its while. I would play my part in stopping it…
It. I smiled in chagrin. Even after all these years, I still could not bring myself to say the word. Having been a subject to 'it' all those years ago, I still bore the emotional scars, the only evidence of the horrifying experience lay deep in my modesty. With that thought, I stepped into the car sent to greet me.
I was around eleven then, only just having received my 'first blood' as it was referred to. I overheard my parents talking about 'it' one night, but in my childish ignorance, I paid no heed to their hushed tones. It was only the morning after, in which I wished I had ran away.
I was presented to an old woman, so shrivelled with age that I had no inkling as to how old she was. Most of the children shied away from her, as rumour had it that she was a witch of some kind, superstitious nonsense.
She was a monster!
We were not the only ones there; several other families had brought their daughters over. Many were squirming, trying to get away. I was first, and so I was brought into a hut. My parents were ordered to hold me down, as the woman began preparing me for one of the most barbaric customs known to me.
A bump on the rutty road brought me back to full-consciousness. Only for a moment though. Then, my mind trailed off again.
I remember screaming and kicking as my legs were tied to two stakes, firmly stabbed into the ground. The rough rope hurt me, cutting me deeply, but I didn't care. The old woman knelt over me, holding what seemed to be a knife. Its blade glinted in the dim light. I screamed harder, my throat burning from the effort.
I felt her calloused fingers touch me, then the cold steel. Then, a searing pain shot up my body, my every fibre screamed from the agony. I felt my blood flood my thighs, as the knife bit deeper. The pain was unimaginable. My screaming ceased as I felt an overwhelming exhaustion take over me. The tears still flowed freely, and so did the blood. When or how the wound was staunched, I never knew. I only dully recall my father cradling me in his arms, taking me home.
I had felt so betrayed. My parents had played a part in my agony. The treachery had hurt more than the excision itself! I no longer felt my home to be the sanctuary I had once pictured it to be. I knew that others had been subjected to the barbarism too, and that further fuelled my rage. In time, the bleeding stopped, the wound healed, but my hatred still burned. I left home at the age of fifteen, stowing away on a cargo truck, vowing that I would never return home, unless it was for something worth the pain.
I was home now… and I was here for a good reason. A calling.
Tears cut their clear rivers down my dirt streaked face now. We were nearing my destination. In the near distance, I could hear the spirited shouts for liberation. And at once my spirits were lifted, as the muffled chants of 'Anka Fo "Ante"' drifted to my ears.
And I felt my lips move, and the words resounded in the still air. ANKA FO "ANTE"!