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A Song and a Swirl Of Dust

Updated on September 2, 2013

Fanta at the motor park

The dust hung in the air, unmoving. It seemed to cling to the inside of Fanta's nostrils as she breathed in and out and it made her want to take shallow breaths. Her boubou was not light coloured like her sister's; still, it was changed in moments by the layer of dust on it, on the bags, on everything. Her father had gone to find the vehicles that were going to Kafanchan. Fanta and her sister stood limply by the bags looking at the bustling scene before them. The barrow boys darted swiftly in between the crowds, the heels of their feet and those of the patient hawkers cracked by the harmattan into the tell-tale, carved tributaries of the less privileged.

The song

And the song started in her head.

The same one she had heard in her dream.

O, o young girl

Beautiful young girl

Your days are numbered

Purdah is calling.

This is the last of school

The harem is waiting.

This is the last of running

With skirts at your calves

Modesty has waited for you.

Come, come

Circumcision is not death

It is a little thing

It is such a little thing

For womanhood,

For honour;

For the privilege

Of marriage

To one who can never be yours alone.

Do not be afraid.

Can you miss the substance of dreams unknown and only whispered?

Your pleasure days are not gone -

Not at all;

For you never knew them.

The song ended with the laughter of maidens. A sand-swirl whisked up near her and Fanta saw faces of young girls in the whirl.

None smiled.


The setting of this is the northern section of a west-African country. Although the story per se is fictional, the area Kafanchan actually exists. There is a weather condition mentioned known as the harmattan. I have been fascinated by it for years and it still occasionally features in my writing. The harmattan presents itself as dual in character: it can be pregnant with secrets and it can also blow cold, dry winds; blowing clear through minds and spirits.

In this country, in every village, town and city there can be found places called motor parks, where people can pay for commercial buses and cars to transport them as far as the length or breadth of the country.

The song carries the main theme of the piece embedded in its calls to Fanta, our principal character. In imitation of the journey she is about to take, we are figuratively transported from our comfort zones to a strong traditional place defended for generations.

The debates, pleas, conferences and symposiums on this topic are not abating. I encourage you to follow the links to the UNFPA page and other source information to see the current statistics, NGO findings and interventions, and positions of government in affected regions.

Angélique Kidjo Raises Her Voice Against Female Genital Mutilation

Links to more on Female Genital Mutilation

  • unfpa- on Female Genital Mutilation/Circumcision.
  • WHO on FGM

Photo Credit

Thanks to gbaku for the picture 'Eyes'.


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    • jesusmyjoy profile image

      Betty Bolden 6 years ago from Bucyrus Ohio

      very nice great hub

    • profile image

      akune 6 years ago

      Thanks Lyns. Your comments are encouraging.

    • lyns profile image

      lyns 6 years ago from USA

      Very nice and interesting hub, thanks for sharing, I voted up, interesting, and beautiful. lyns

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 6 years ago

      I stumbled upon magnificent talent here. akune you share, yet I feel you weeping. A true artist, I feel it in your words shared here. Sensitive indeed, yet poignant in it's delivery. Yes there is a lotta talent here and you are one of many. Ideals are important, your share was brilliant.

    • akune profile image

      akune 6 years ago from Surrey, England, United Kingdom

      Monsieur WD, vous etes tres gentil. I am so glad we have a community like this - a place for writers to just do their thing. The happening is almost a movement. There is a lotta lotta talent gravitatin' here as well because they feel safe, appreciated and feel like they've come 'home'. I pray it stays clean, not overly commercialised and that writers' ideals prevail.

    • peti profile image

      peti 6 years ago

      Thank you for sharing such a moving piece. This is an enormous issue in the world and you touch on it in such a sensitive yet moving way. Thank you! I will follow you to read such quality hubs!

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 6 years ago from Space Coast

      You are off the hook. I have to learn English. It took me awhile to get started. I loved your description of the harmatten. This is top drawer stuff. You can have my place in line. You deserve it.

    • profile image

      Ghaelach 6 years ago

      Morning Akune.

      Very interesting hub.

      We sit in our western world and know very little of the ways of other lands.

      Take care.

      LOL Ghaelach