African Origin of Civilization Myth or Reality
by Cheikh Anta Diop
In Chapter Seven,
The author gave us a brief history of what is now known as FGM as in Female Genital Mutilation performed on girls and women and Circumcision that is performed on boys and men. This practice of circumcision (for the male) and excision (for the female) is known to be practiced among Semites around the globe. Surprisingly, these practices have an African origin in antiquity.
Among the South Sudanese community, men are circumcised. This depends on family or religious values. Therefore not every man or young boy gets circumcised. But among the circumcized sometimes they bully the uncircumcised by calling them ''ayuk'' meaning a man or boy that is not ''cut,'' where as ''thony'' is a man that is cut. As for as I know in contemporary South Sudanese history, FGM or Circumcision is not our culture.
According to the author, ''circumcision is of Egyptian and Ethiopian origin, and the Egyptians and Ethiopian were none other than Negroes inhabiting different regions.'' (Diop., page 136). We have to understand the people who were alive during this time period had their own cultural and religious reasons for doing these practices. Egyptian civilization is the cradle for mankind at that time influenced her surroundings as in ''circumcision was introduced among the Semites only as a result of contact with the Black world -- which conforms to the testimony of Herodotus.'' (Diop., page 136)
According to the Dogon cosmogony, ''circumcision must be accompanied by excision. These two operations remove something from the female from the male and something male from the female. To the archaic mentality, such an operation is intended to fortify the dominant character of a single-sex in a given human being.'' (Diop., page 136).
According to the Dogons newborns are born androgynous, ''so long as it retains it's foreskin and clitoris, indications of the sex opposite to the apparent sex, masculinity and femininity have equal strength. Thus it is not accurate to compare the uncircumcised to a woman; like a girl on whom excision has not been performed, he is both male and female. If this indecision about his sex were allowed to continue, he (or she) would have no interest in procreation.'' (Diop., page 137).
''These, then, are the various reasons for circumcision and excision: the need to rid the child of an evil force, the need for him (or her) to pay a debt of blood and to turn definitely towards one sex.'' (Diop., page 137). Amon represents the divine androgyny in ancient Egyptian culture,
''Amon-Ra, the Supreme, primordial Being, his own father and the termed the husband of his mother, has his feminine portion enclosed and his own essence that is both male and female.'' (Diop., page 137).
These views are from an epoch that is no longer here. But the original intention seems to serve the principles of masculinity and feminity. To have men be solely masculine and women solely feminine to serve their societal expectations. But in contemporary times, excision is known as female genital mutilation and has been branded as getting rid of future 'hypersexuality' and taming a girl's or woman's sexual nature in general. While circumcision is for men to have cleaner genitalia and for religious reasons.
Nyabuoy Gatbel is a South Sudanese Canadian currently living in Calgary, AB. She was born in Ethiopia in 1993 and moved to Canada as a refugee in 2002. She's currently a undergraduate student at the University of Calgary. Besides her studies she's a social entreprenuer focusing on the, ''Paarman Centre project,'' a fashion model, writer and author of the book, ''The Fire Within poetry in Thok Nath and English.''