Home Institution

University of Denver

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

Kenya: Islam and Swahili Cultural Identity


A harsh economy, tense politics, and culture clash have created a difficult environment for Somali refugees flooding into Kenya. This climate is perfectly captured by various groups’ perspectives on female circumcision practices in the Somali community. The following study looks at Somali circumcision and its roll in their culture as well as how their culture has been influenced by living in Mombasa. Also, it will examine how social and political biases play a large part in how other groups, such as NGOs, the Swahili and the Barawa view Somali female circumcision. Finally it will evaluate the roll that circumcision plays in the Somali community and whether or not it should remain a protected cultural rite, or if the government is right in banning the practice through recent legislation. This study holds significance in its analysis of the situation and its attempt to view female circumcision without cultural bias, something that is very rarely done in dealing with cultural rites such as these.


African Languages and Societies | Family, Life Course, and Society | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | Place and Environment



Article Location