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Mila Tu

Director(s): Charlotte Bruneau, Laurène Lepeytre
Script: Charlotte Bruneau, Laurène Lepeytre
Year: 2008
Form: DOCUMENTARY - Feature film
Genre: Focus
Original version: Swahili
Running time: 52'

Nashipaï is a 14 year old Maasaï girl. This morning she is dressed in black, wears pearl

bracelets on her wrists, a meat necklace around her neck and her hair has been shaved off :

later today, she will finally become an adult. Her mother, grand-mother and sisters have all

been circumcised. But starting this year, the village of Monduli in Tanzania has stopped this

cruel practice. Nashipaï sits down at the entrance of her boma (traditional house), spreads

her legs as she steadies herself. She will be fine, no tears this time. Two small superficial

cuts between her thighs, only a symbolic gesture.

Starting in 2007, female circumcision has been replaced by an alternative rite of passage in

Monduli following a Maasaï initiative. A first for the region! People responsible for the change

say that resistance was not uncommon : excision remains a important social stepping stone.

Elderly women who lost their job as circumcisers found other ways of earning an income.

Some were given a diploma and some cash after stopping although a few admit to continue

their circumcision business in secret. An ageold tradition cannot be simply bought with cash.

The police reassures that women practicing circumcision are severly punished. But

repression has only limited effects : many girls still have to flee from their families to avoid

excision. A secondary school in the bush is the only sanctuary for these girls. The men and

women in the village speak out very clearly on the issue: if the woman is uncircumcised, sex

is much better. Complete local life styles are about to change. We show you in 52’ the first

moments of this alternative rite of passage in Monduli, Tanzania. At last some good news

from Africa…


Anne Schroeder: production
Paul Mass : montage
Gilles Lepeytre : image
Tom Goedert: musique originale
Philippe Mergen: mixage
Mike Thill : étalonnage

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