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Between Rites and RightsExcision in Women's Experiential Texts and Human Contexts$
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Chantal Zabus

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780804756877

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804756877.001.0001

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The Exciser

The Exciser

(p.246) Ten The Exciser
Between Rites and Rights
Stanford University Press

The perpetuation of the excision rite in Africa has recently been blamed on the exciser. The mother of the excised girl is usually described as the anti-mom, one who delivers her screaming child to the exciser, while the exciser is often seen as a non-nurturing and ruthless matron. Both the exciser and the patriarchal mother have been featured in recent women's literature. To date, outside of attempts at staging alternative rites, the exciser has been either reduced to silence or demonized in works such as Alice Walker's Possessing the Secret of Joy ([1992] 1993). The exciser is demonized not only in African texts but also in outsiders' texts. As alternative rites continue to spread all over the African continent, with the exception of the resurgence of the practice in some contexts, Koffi Kwahulé takes excision into the theater of exile with his play Bintou (1997).

Keywords:   excision, Africa, mother, exciser, rites, Alice Walker, Possessing the Secret of Joy, Koffi Kwahulé, Bintou, theater

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